presents a solo exhibition by the Belgian artist Yves Zurstrassen (° 1956, Liège, lives and works in Brussels).
Entitled "Free", the exhibition provides a unique and selective overview of the past 10 years, subdivided into 5 series in 5 rooms.
The exhibition travels from the Museo de Santa Cruz in Toledo to the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, where the artist is based. A cyclical, reversed chronological route; along the way we go back in time through the artists oeuvre from 2019 to 2009.
A rhythmic play of abstract forms and bright colours, but also monochrome and striking yellow in his most recent work which forms the start and end of the exhibition. Inspired by the sounds of free jazz and abstract art, the exhibition shows us how painting in a monumental, almost architectural form converges with the space itself.
On the occasion of this exhibition, double bassist and vocalist Joëlle Léandre will perform an intimate concert in the exhibition rooms on November 26.
The work of Yves Zurstrassen
Although Yves Zurstrassens painting has evolved throughout the years, there is something that remains intact: the desire to combine the expressive painterly gesture, which is intuitive and free, with calculated, precise, mathematical forms.
Zurstrassen's paintings are carefully constructed, layer by layer, combining different techniques and revisiting the artistic practices that determined the history of abstraction in the 20th century - always with a view of deconstructing them.
The result of this deconstruction and quest for the right choreography of shapes, colors, objects and figures is a series of works that is rhythmically and formally related to free jazz. Jazz and free jazz play an important role in the work of Zurstrassen, who is strongly influenced by musicians such as John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Joëlle Léandre and Evan Parker, with whom he "communicates through painting".
Occupying five rooms, this exhibition presents the artists oeuvre from 2009 to 2019, beginning with his most recent works before travelling back in time.
The artist has imagined a scenography in which the paintings musically lend rhythm to the exhibition. They lead us as suggested by Umberto Eco evoking art to an infinity of lives. Those of colour, light or the absence of light; those of the coupling of black and white, as in the oeuvres of Ross Bleckner and Christopher Wool; those of plays with fragments, from collage to décollage, as nods to Kurt Schwitters or to Picasso or through digitalization to Albert Oehlen; those of dance, echoing La Danse by Matisse, Broadway Boogie Woogie by Mondrian and Public Love by Jonathan Lasker.
Room ① presents the latest series of paintings by Yves Zurstrassen, a marriage of rigorous constructions and a remarkable radiance of the colour yellow.
Room ② is dominated by red, with the musical interplay of points and counterpoints serving first and foremost as an experience of deconstructing structure with rhythm.
Room ③ is a choreographic, visual arts dialogue with dance and an evocation of beloved canvasses: La Danse by Matisse, Broadway Boogie Woogie by Mondrian and Public Love by Jonathan Lasker.
In Room ④, we are confronted with the intensity of powerful, tense spaces, solely determined by the interplay of black and white.
Room ⑤ reconnects with colours, but free shades, through figures in harmony with geometry, thereby revealing the impulsion, projection and joyous effusion of forms. This room marks the beginning, the very genesis of this past decade of creation (2009-2019).
Visitors are therefore invited to re-explore the exhibition, this time in the opposite direction up until 2019, for a deeper comprehension and more profound experience of Yves Zurstrassens methodical adventure.
Born in Liège in 1956, the self-taught painter Yves Zurstrassen originally studied graphic art and learned his craft by frequenting artists studios and the retrospective exhibitions of master painters with whom he felt a certain affinity, notably Fernand Léger, Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning and Mark Tobey.