Hans Theys is een twintigste-eeuws filosoof en kunsthistoricus. Hij schreef en ontwierp tientallen boeken over het werk van hedendaagse kunstenaars en publiceerde honderden essays, interviews en recensies in boeken, catalogi en tijdschriften. Al deze publicaties zijn gebaseerd op samenwerkingen of gesprekken met de kunstenaars in kwestie.

Dit platform werd samengesteld door Evi Bert (M HKA / Centrum Kunstarchieven Vlaanderen). Het kwam tot stand in samenwerking met de Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerpen (Onderzoeksgroep ArchiVolt), M HKA, Antwerpen en Koen Van der Auwera. Met dank aan Idris Sevenans (HOR) en Marc Ruyters (Hart Magazine).


Viviane Klagsbrun - 2005 - Freewheeling [EN, review]
Tekst , 3 p.




Hans Theys

Free-wheeling on a storm
About a show by Viviane Klagsbrun



An overheard conversation between an elderly lady and a handsome, young man in the Museum of Kranenburg at the opening of Viviane Klagsbrun’s solo exhibition, somewhere last year.

Elderly lady: Mmm. I’m impressed.

Young man: Yeah. Me too.

Elderly lady: I’ve always loved the way she combines vigorous pencil drawings with coloured surfaces that rarely overlap.

Young man: Mmm.

Elderly lady: Like silk screens. 

Young man: Mmm.

Elderly lady:Background and foreground are interwoven.

Young man: Mmm.

Elderly lady: The depicted figures are viewed from unusual viewpoints. They are fighting, waiting or touching one another awkwardly. It looks as if they have become frozen in the midst of their love lives, in the midst of their lives. Some scenes are violent. They appear to have been painted in anger.

Young man: Mmm.

Elderly lady: Nevertheless, the prevailing feeling is that of tenderness.

Young man: I agree.

Elderly lady: It’s got everything. Movement, vigorous drawing, wild colour, the hand of a painter, atmosphere and concept.

Young man: Yeah.

Elderly lady: It relates to appropriation, entropy, scattering, the construction of identity, new feminism and De Sade.

Young man: Mmm.

Elderly lady: And then you have this a marvellously funny faux-idiotic approach…

Young man: Yeah…

Elderly lady: She makes my heart sing.

Young man: Yeah…

Elderly lady: Mmm.

Young man: And what did Matthew Collings say about her painting?

Elderly lady: He called it “opulent, decadent, theory-less, stoked-up, anti-duchampian pleasure-painting”. He also pointed out that Klagsbrun paints in a broad, painterly, realist style: “A kind of realism that is not believable, or meant to be believable, in itself, but which conjures up memories and associations of painterly realism, especially Courbet.”

Young man: He doesn’t seem to agree with Greenberg on this. What did Greenberg say exactly? Do you have it with you?

Elderly lady: (Going through a little blue notebook.) I remember copying the pieces by Lucy Lippard and David Sylvester, but… Oh, here it is.

Young man: I remember he loved her paintings.

Elderly lady: Yes, he loved them. He called them powerful, deeply moving, sensuous, sad, panicking, lost, bewildered adventures, undauntingly free, full of painterly guts, real avant-garde kitsch, real new new modern modern. He was especially fond of the clumsy way depth is suggested, only to reconfirm that paintings are really flat. He thought of them as comical Monets.

Young man: And Sylvester?

Elderly lady: Sylvester was moved. Just plainly moved. “At last some intelligent paintings that make all other intelligence superfluous!” he wrote. “Funny stuff. Great stuff”, he said. He admired the blunt brush strokes, but also the conceptual tightness. It is like Courbet waking up in a painting by Mondriaan, Philip Taaffe, John Currin, Ad Reinhardt and Robert Ryman, he said.

Young man: I see.

Elderly lady: Mmm.

Young man: Yeah.

Elderly lady: This exhibition makes me think of Stephen Leacock's comparison between a horse and a bicycle. 

Young man: I see…

Elderly lady: Leacock observes that the pedals of a horse don't allow for a comfortable circular pedalling movement. 

Young man: Mmm.

Elderly lady: He adds that free-wheeling on a horse is an extraordinary experience.

Young man: Mmm.

Elderly lady: Yeah.

Young man: Mmm.

(Overheard and translated by Hans Theys, Montagne de Miel, April 15th 2005.)