Six Cool Paintings With a Message

Renowned Belgian painter’s show is a feast for aenturers

An exhibit of six paintings opened recently at AKA Art Gallery, Kampala. The Belgian artist Yves Goscinny is showing his journey from Brussels, his home town, to Kampala using paintings in mixed media: ink, acrylics and linen on canvas.

The sometimes expressionistic, figurative, and abstract paintings are showcased in form of a sequence of events from the time he leaves Brussels he boards the plane, makes a stopover in Dar-es -Salaam, lands in Kampala, loves Kampala but feels home sick, makes the trip back home.

The composition of each image depends on the subject matter.

In painting ‘Brussels in the Morning’, the artist paints a snowy landscape of the city he is leaving. There’s no sign of life save for a man clasping a blue umbrella under a foggy skyline- possibly a metaphor of hope in such bad weather- and a cluster of green trees. In the painting, ‘A lone in the African City’, the artist divides his canvas into two. On one side he uses dubs of warm colours like green, yellow and red to evoke the mood and atmosphere in Kampala. On the other side, he paints a grey and white canvas with patches of yellow, black and red. This symbolises his ambivalence about Kampala.

“When I arrived in Kampala, I felt I missed home. But after a couple of days I feel I am getting used to the place and I love it,” says Yves.

The intensity in the towering artist’s look captures his keenness on aenture and experimentation. He experiments with surrealist techniques in the fashion of renowned 20th century Belgian artist Rene Magritte. The artist famed for his idiosyncratic approach to surrealism created images juxtaposed with light and darkness resulting often into a powerful paradox.

Yves’ painting, ‘Returning to Brussels’ in the exhibit at AKA, is much familiar with Rene’s painting, ‘Empire of Light’, where the artist’s composition is a small apartment on a sombre street. In the bottom half of the painting, dusk has fallen and a street lamp glows peacefully and yet above, is a blue sky creating an impression it’s sunny.

In comparison, both paintings, the later and former, create an unsettling feeling in the viewer a sort of discourse between the artist, the painting, and the viewer.

Another interesting element about Yves’ work is it bringing to the fore- objectively- the challenges of a globalised society we live in. A critical appreciation of these six paintings reveals that the artist is documenting issues like global warming depicted by his paintings of snowy landscapes with minimal vegetation, the rural-urban migration and pollution visible in the two paintings, Urban Folly and Kampala traffic, and isolation and seclusion a typical feeling for many people migrating to new territories in post- modernist society.

An exhibit of this type brings to mind how important it is to have a good story and tell it in the simplest manner. Instead of complicating everything by exhibiting 20 or so paintings in order to relay his message, as other artists sometimes do, Yves uses six paintings. Would one painting have been enough?

Source : The Independent

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