The 3D exhibition is an encounter among three ways of conceiving, creating and transmitting art. The 3D exhibition is three artists and their respective aesthetic dimensions: first, the conceptual world of John Franzen, entirely governed by a questioning of philosophical order, the result of which questioning is instinctive intuition-based art; then, Gery de Smet, who offers a rich art whose seeming variety constitutes a whole, a contemporary art of which the underlying messages appeal to our collective conscience; and, finally, Adèle Renault, author of realist, uncompromising figurative canvases. Coming from different artistic horizons, they share a language, whether it be native or adoptive… D for Dutch. The 3D exhibition is three artists distributed across three levels. The 3D exhibition is the richness of contemporary art multiplied by three.
John Franzen was born in 1981 in Germany. In the course of successive house moves, John experienced a nomadic childhood which led to a lack of links and social ties. When he commenced art studies in Maastricht, a young budding artist had found refuge in creation which, to him, was synonymous with reassurance. In its very essence, his conceptual art is inspired by a quest for truth. In the series Each line one breath and Drawing with blood, he traces a line to each breath; each piece therefore possesses its own movement and is as unique as the artist’s breath. This line, in its formal materialisation, calls for the most fundamental act of life that there can be: the breath. The line diffuses all the energy of the exhalation which the artist undertakes to make visible to us. The choice of this line, devoid of all iconography, makes it possible not to be diverted from its true meaning. In the series Creation is destruction, another idea is being conveyed, that only the annihilation of all forms of identity returns us to the essence of things, to their source. In order to reach this truth, scientific rigour mingles with the creative dimension. It is for this reason that John Franzen trusts in his institution and instinct, which open the mind to a whole range of possibles. While a certain form of spirituality inhabits his art, it is no less at the opposite extreme from religion as we know it: that is to say, a dogma created by and for man, therefore originally truncated and far from this truth which John transcends in his works.
GERY DE SMET
Born in 1961, Gery de Smet is a versatile artist who is active in numerous fields (painting, graphic arts, installation, performance, film, book, etc.). At the heart of this apparent diversity, an underlying thread ensures that each creation completes the last, along the lines of a total work of art: Gery’s artistic vision being guided by a vocation that is intrinsic to his work, the vocation of passing on a message. The recurring themes are ideology, territory and the people, whose superstitions, and the multiple identities which result from them, charge his canvases with meaning and reveal, at the same time, a fascination for rituals and symbols. In the series If U loot I shoot, paintings represent sections of road (often no man’s land) punctuated with slogans or messages of a political nature, exposing the artificiality of landscapes created by man where nature is relegated to the background. In the series All circuits are closed, the alerted eye will recognise, in what resembles satellite images, traces of famous Formula 1 circuits such as Silverstone or Francorchamps. One rediscovers here the alienation of nature, intensified by the unreal atmosphere which these paintings exude. The fact that man or car are totally absent from these circuits adds to the sensation of singularity which emanates from them.
Adèle Renault was born in 1988 into a family of musicians. Following studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and a rich and varied creative career (graphic arts, painting, drawing, graffiti, etc.), she decided to devote herself entirely to pictorial art. She exhibited for the first time in 2011 at the gallery Unruly (Amsterdam), which she founded with the artist Niels Shoe Meulman. Her art is distinguished by a realism whose sincerity is equalled only by its purity… A purity intensified by systematic overexposure in her portraits. Considered a photographic error, in this context, overexposure is the fruit of a deliberate move. Adèle concentrates light on the face, the rest being bathed in an overexposed white where the absence of contours enables the gaze to lose itself. The Les clochards célestes series of portraits, a nod to the French title of Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums, shows deeply-lined faces of homeless people from San Francisco or elsewhere. Apart form rare commissions, such as the portrait of the Dutch rap group De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, it is an intentional choice to immortalise individuals on the margins of society. Adèle Renault paints after her own photographs and makes sure that her models never stare into the lens, in order to avoid having our gaze intersect with theirs. The portraits originating from the Les clochards célestes series have no ambition to expose any social injustice. Well beyond that, they underline by their materiality and evocative force an elegance that is omnipresent and accessible to all. We find this same philosophy in the series of portraits of ancestors whom Adèle Renault met and photographed in Burkina Faso.