BRUSSELS.- Saskia Pintelon is a Belgian artist. She completed her art training in Sint-Lukas (Ghent) during the swinging sixties but soon swapped the student city for exotic Sri Lanka, where she still lives and works. She went there in search of identity, a personal quest that has resulted in countless paintings, drawings, collages, texts, sketchbooks and words. Her work is poised between the continuous Western desire for progress and the timeless Eastern mastery of existence.
A chronological overview of Saskias work is virtually impossible because every day for many decades, she has stubbornly sought answers to questions relating to the intrinsic meaning of life. Insights into her entire oeuvre slowly reveal themselves in successive periods of the artists life. For example, there is a series about found identity card photos, a series with diseases, newspaper clippings assembled together, a rat bite and numerous other events and experiences that time and again result in new creations. A continuous voyage of discovery in images, feelings, stories, traditions, relationships, art and music.
The question of identity is central to Saskias oeuvre. The search for identity and at the same time, being one with reality, makes the process fascinating. Fear, desire and questioning form part of this but they also envelop and nurture the artistic thinking and what it means to be fully human.
Together with curator Joost Declercq, Saskia Pintelon has chosen to show her most recent works at the CAB. These new, colourful, large-scale abstract works are surprising and radically different from her earlier, more figurative work. The paintings are based on observations of the purest natural phenomena, for example, the formation of water droplets on concrete in relation to the chemical processes on the pictorial canvas.
Saskia manages to develop her own abstraction within the tradition of Western experimentation with the non-figurative form. Seemingly starting out from an uncontrolled, dynamic and radical process, she produces work that is strongly balanced, both visually and in terms of content. It betrays no age, place, or history. The artist has devoted herself to searching for the ultimate image.
Alongside these works, re-worked books on which the artist was simultaneously working are also exhibited. The books of collages are powerful personal reinterpretations of The Book of Faces, a collection of earlier works that now serves as a sort of blank canvas. This beautiful book is a combination of collages, drawings, photographs, paintings and texts, in which, via advertisements taken from Sri Lankan newspapers, the artist visualises thoughts and musings about the question of identity in portraits. The books reveal another facet of the artist: that of researcher, questioner, and restless thinker.
Rather than a narrative retrospective, the artist and curator find it more interesting to show these two extremes simultaneously.
The exhibition at the CAB is one of stunning extremes, both in terms of form and content.
An ummissable exhibition: Saskia Pintelon they did make a monkey curry, curated by Joost Declercq.