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ASA Publishers

Philippe Van Snick  DYNAMIC PROJECT

This publication is the first career-encompassing monographic study of the artistic production of Philippe Van Snick. The result of a long-term collaboration between the artist, a team of researchers and a group of designers, it serves as an instrument for discovering Van Snick’s oeuvre as a totality. This book reveals Van Snick’s long-standing experimentation with a wide variety of materials and techniques, such as drawings and works on paper, photography, film, sculptures and works in situ. A red thread through the artworks is their close ties to everyday reality, life and nature. The accumulation of time incorporated in Van Snick’s work — he has been steadily building on his Dynamic Project since the late 1960s — now allows for a global understanding of his idiosyncratic, highly moving visual idiom. As a consequence it is now possible to distinguish Van Snick from his generation of peers, the conceptual artists of the early 1970s. This richly illustrated volume, with a foreword by Lies Daenen, is constructed around a chronology of the artist’s work and life, written by Marie-Pascale Gildemyn. Her all-encompassing approach is complemented with essays offering specific, in-depth readings. They are written by Liesbeth Decan, Hans M. de Wolf, Alexander Streitberger, Paul Tanghe, Hilde Van Gelder, and Lore Van Hees.

Liesbeth Decan & Hilde Van Gelder (eds.)

Chronology by Marie-Pascale Gildemyn

Philippe Van Snick DYNAMIC PROJECT


Philippe Van Snick  Dynamic Project


Philippe Van Snick Dynamic Project

Liesbeth Decan & Hilde Van Gelder, editors Chronology by Marie-Pascale Gildemyn

ASA Publishers  


Contents

7 Preface Lies Daenen

9 Introduction Liesbeth Decan, Marie-Pascale Gildemyn & Hilde Van Gelder

29 Representing the Energy and Impalpability of Matter Hilde Van Gelder

129 The Photoconceptual Work Liesbeth Decan

139 The Wide White Space. An interview with Anny De Decker Liesbeth Decan

203 The order of 10 Hans M. de Wolf

257 The Book as Object and Idea Alexander Streitberger

267 The Contemplative Character of the Oeuvre Paul Tanghe

341 “Sferen� Lore Van Hees

349

Selective bibliography

Chronology

14

Until June 1968: The Formative Years

20

1968-1969: Transition from Academy to Professional World

40

1970-1979

142

1980-1989

208

1990-1999

274

2000-2010

Marie-Pascale Gildemyn


Preface

Lies Daenen

The oeuvre of Philippe Van Snick is complex as well as simple, dense as well as transparent, concrete as well as abstract. This artistic work cannot be subsumed in a single category, and at the same time it is lucid and disciplined throughout. By ascetically holding on to a strict ‘alphabet’ of ten colors and ten numbers (0-9), Van Snick has developed a mode of creativity that continues to renew itself all the time, despite his self-imposed restrictions, if not rather because of them. At first sight, his artistic language seems formal and distanced, but on closer inspection it gives way to a poetry that links up everyday experience with universal concerns. His conceptual austerity marks out an unpredictable and adventurous trajectory in the diversity of media in which his artistic works have taken shape. Perhaps it is precisely this singular determination, characterized by complexity in simplicity, which accounts for the fact that it took some time for this book to be in our hands. For many of us who know Van Snick’s work well, the need for a comprehensive study of it has long been obvious, while its absence was felt to be a lack. Fortunately, the research project of the Association KULeuven paved the way for such project and took charge of it, together with the artist. The exhibition at M provides the concrete occasion and perfect context for realizing this publication now and presenting to us a wonderful survey of his oeuvre, which includes, among other things, a hitherto never exhibited series of works from the Cera collection. The name of Philippe Van Snick has long been a familiar one within artistic circles. We hope that this book will now offer a wider audience the opportunity to become acquainted with his rich, intriguing oeuvre.


Introduction

Liesbeth Decan, Marie-Pascale Gildemyn and Hilde Van Gelder

This book is the first career-encompassing monographic study of Philippe Van Snick’s œuvre. It is the result of a very close and long-term collaboration between the artist and a team of researchers and designers. It has been created to serve as an instrument for discovering Van Snick’s body of work as a totality. The many red threads it reveals allow us to understand the work in its full coherence as a complete project. Van Snick’s artistic production is often known only in a fragmentary way. The larger public still mostly sees him as an abstract painter. This publication reveals he has been experimenting with a wide variety of materials and techniques, such as drawings and works on paper, photography, film, sculptures and works in situ. This extremely rich range of artistic experiments is characterized by a remarkable internal logic and sharpness of vision. This vision is typified by the artist’s consistent interest in the principle of duality as a fundamental driving force in his work and life. Both the figurative and the abstract works are at all times closely tied to everyday reality, life and nature. In this way, Van Snick is able to visually gather and often even reconcile individual and universal forces. The accumulation of time incorporated in his work as a whole has generated a very specific, highly moving visual idiom and as a consequence it is now possible to distinguish Van Snick from his generation of peers, the conceptual artists of the early 1970s. The methodology followed in this book is one of archiving and enlisting data, bringing them in relation to a generous selection of images. This allows for discovering and linking elements from the reality within which the oeuvre developed over the past five decennia. The timeline starts in the mid-1960s and ends today. It offers an overview of the most relevant data that enable an understanding of the genesis and evolution of the work and the context in which it came into being. With meticulous precision and patience, all information has been transcribed from the original sources (letters, invitation cards, books, catalogues, etc.), reflecting the spirit of the epoch by retaining the terminology of the time (such as the use of ‘commissioner/curator’) and often resulting in different spelling of names. Crucial to this titanic task was the conscious choice to execute this work now, sitting together in Van Snick’s Brussels studio while going through the vast amount of available archive materials in order to create a document that holds art historical value and testifies scientifically to what has happened within his fascinating artistic universe from the late 1960s until the present, departing from the very early, formative years. It has never been the intention of the participants of this study to compose a catalogue raisonné. Nevertheless, this book intends to offer an insightful overview of all the themes and aspects that have been important

9


to Van Snick throughout his career until the present day. It also reproduces all the important works and series to date, but the latter not always in full. It aspires to record all the individual exhibitions and the most important group exhibitions, as well as the most significant literature that inspired the artist throughout the years. But there is definitely even more to be said than the impressive amount of material that is already gathered here. The book shows the ambition to correct many errors and mistakes that circulate around the work, realizing nevertheless that it is fallible in itself. But it has tried to be as precise as it can, aspiring to bring out as much unknown but important material as possible. The timeline adheres to a strict chronological order, emphasizing descriptions of facts and works in a way that is as exact as possible. It is complemented by a variety of well-chosen essays, that set out to interpret different aspects of the work in many additional ways. This corpus of text materials should serve as a basis for further study of Van Snick’s body of work. All mentioned facts have been double checked with the original documents from the archive and with the artist himself in conversation. The moment has come for us to express our most sincere and warmest gratitude to Philippe Van Snick, for the time and patience he has dedicated to this enterprise, for the generosity with which he has shared his materials with us, opening his entire house to the many national and international researchers that have entered his doors over the past five years. This could not have been possible without the ongoing and continuous emotional and logistic support of his wife, Marijke De Keukeleire. A book such as this could not have been realized without the efforts of many other people and institutions. We thank CERA, in particular Paul Tanghe and Lies Daenen, for their support of this project from a very early stage. We are grateful for their written contributions to this book, and so are we to the other contributing authors: Hans De Wolf, Alexander Streitberger and Lore Van Hees. In the Museum M at Leuven, Veronique Vandekerchove, Lore Van Hees, Luc Delrue and Eva Wittocx, as well as the guest curator of the exhibition, Luk Lambrecht, were enthusiastic from the start to organize a solo exhibition of Van Snick’s work, which coincides with the publication of this book . The Research Platform for the Arts at the Association KULeuven, in particular Yves Knockaert, amply supported the five year trajectory of research that preceded this publication. At various stages during this time period, Wouter Davidts, Rein DeslÊ, Bart Geerts, Joris Ghekiere, Steven Vandervelden and Pieter Vermeersch were involved in the project. We thank them for their engagement and enthusiasm. At Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design, Willem De Greef and Jan Cools followed the project closely and they did not hesitate to offer the necessary support whenever it was needed at crucial moments. Ton Brouwers realized a delicate job in translating the timeline and the essays to English. Esther Rosser also supported the project on

10

Introduction


various levels. Jef Geys and Michael Snow generously authorized publication of images. Studio Luc Derycke succeeded terrifically in bringing texts and images together in a fine layout. We thank all of them, and hope that you will equally enjoy reading this book as contributing to further enlivening the precious work and legacy of Philippe Van Snick.

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Chronology Marie-Pascale Gildemyn

References [B] [G] [R] [E / I] [TH /  W] [EX] [A / ED]

Biographical Elements Galleries  Reading  Encounters and Influences  Themes and Works  Exhibitions  Assignments and Editions


Until June 1968 : The Formative Years B Philippe Van Snick is born in Ghent on 16 December 1946.

He lives and works in Ghent until the end of 1971. In 1964, at age 17, Ph. Van Snick leaves the Koninklijk Atheneum (humanities) in Ghent and switches to the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Ghent. — School year 1964-1965 : instructors : Wilfried Sybrandts (painting) / Pierre Vlerick (etching) / Paul Van Gyseghem (drawing).

It was a period of searching. The classroom for painting offered a pleasant context, but it was more like a free learning environment, instead of a studio where art was addressed in a thorough way. [Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009]

— School year 1965-1966 : instructors : Wilfried Sybrandts (painting) / Pierre Vlerick (etching) / Paul Van Gyseghem (drawing). — School year 1966-1967 : instructors : Jan Burssens (painting) / Pierre Vlerick (etching) / Fons De Vogelaere (drawing). — School year 1967-1968 : Ph. Van Snick quits taking painting classes. He only continues doing etching classes taught by Pierre Vlerick, and earns his etching diploma in June 1968. E / I

My interest in art I inherited, so to speak, through my father Jozef Van Snick, who was an amateur painter, as well as through my great-uncle Jozef Van Snick, who at the end of the 19 th century graduated from the Academy of Sint-Niklaas (near Ghent). At home we had a large painting by him on the wall. [Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009]

A first exhibition that very much impresses the young Ph. Van Snick is Picasso : Guernica, avec 60 études et variantes / met 60 studies en varianten, Brussels, Paleis voor Schone Kunsten / Palais des Beaux-Arts, May-June 1956 (subsequently on view in Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, July – September 1956). He visits this exhibition with an aunt who gives him the catalog (with texts of Daniel Henry Kahnweiler and Emile Languy). As a child at age 10-11, Ph. Van Snick makes drawings “in the manner of Picasso” for some time. In addition, he creates other works, such as De vier jaargetijden (oil on Styropor). His fascination for the work of Picasso lasts until age 15, when as a third-year high school student (Rijks Middelbare School in Oostakker, near Ghent) he receives drawing lessons from Jan Hoet ; in this context he creates a copy of Guernica (canvas, c. 110 × 80 cm), for which another teacher makes a frame. Around age 16, Ph. Van Snick starts attending lectures organized by the Vereniging van het Museum voor Schone Kunsten and Paul Eeckhout, the conservator, at the Museum

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Chronology

1960 -1969


Until June 1968

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

of Fine Arts in Ghent. He remembers, for instance, a lecture by a nephew of Vincent Van Gogh about his uncle, as well as a lecture about Pieter Breughel and his time. Later on he attends sessions of Jeugd en Plastische Kunsten (Youth and Plastic Arts), organized by the Vereniging voor het Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst in Ghent and led by Karel Geirlandt, including one by Pierre Restany about the Nouveaux Réalistes. Ph. Van Snick visits the exhibitions Forum ’62 and Forum ’63 in the Centrum voor Kunstambachten, in the former SintPietersabdij in Ghent, as well as the exhibition FiguratieDefiguratie in 1964. In this way he discovers many artists, including the members of Zero and the Nulgroep, Piero Manzoni, the Nouveaux Réalistes (Niki de St Phalle, Martial Raysse, Yves Klein), Bert De Leeuw, Guy Mees, and many others. It was important to him to be exposed to their works. [Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009]

[1]  Schippersvuurtje, 1965

Ph. Van Snick says that during his time at the academy, in the period 1965-1968, he was of course influenced by local teachers, with whom he engaged in discussions from 1966-1967 onward. This applies to Pierre Vlerick in particular, whose open mind he stresses, and less to Jan Burssens, who is more self-preoccupied. For this reason, Ph. Van Snick eventually quits painting classes and only continues to be enrolled in the etching class. In those years, Pierre Vlerick is responsible for organizing the exhibitions in the Sint-Pietersabdij in Ghent. Some students, including Ph. Van Snick in the period 1966-1968, thereby provide assistance. For instance, Ph. Van Snick contributes to ‘Three blind mice’/ de collecties : Visser, Peeters, Becht, (Eindhoven, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, 6.4 – 19.5 1968 ; Ghent, Sint Pietersabdij, 15.6 – 15.8 1968), which much impresses him. [Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009]

In 1966 Ph. Van Snick starts living in a room in the Pand, Lievevrouwbroerstraat in Ghent, where more art academy students are living, including Hilaire Roels, Jef Somerlinck, and Etienne Lievens. He gets to know René Heyvaert, with whom he, as occasional “driver”, sometimes visits exhibitions. Through his teacher Paul Van Gyseghem, who is highly interested in jazz and who also performs as a jazz musician and bass player, Ph. Van Snick attends jazz performances in Antwerp, such as in De Muze, a bar. This of course results in new encounters as well. During his formative years, Ph. Van Snick is strongly drawn to the oeuvre of Vincent Van Gogh. Other work of significance to him is that of Pierre Bonnard, in particular his touch. He says that the generation to which he belongs was influenced by Flemish Expressionism, and also by modern art [2]  Zelfportret, 1965

1960 -1969

Chronology

15


from France, such as the work by the Impressionists, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse … [Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009]

In 1967, Ph. Van Snick travels to the south of France and resides for some months in Antibes, where he visits local museums. The museum of Fernand Léger in Biot, with large ceramic sculptures and drawings, and the Picasso Museum in Antibes leave a strong impression on him. He develops an interest in the work of Fernand Léger and that of Roger Raveel. The connections he draws between both artists, as to their social engagement and communist ideas, result in interesting thought experiments. [Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009]

In 1967 Ph. Van Snick discovers the works of Alexander Calder in the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. He relates the monumentality of these works to his interest in Fernand Léger. Calder’s use of simple materials strikes him as well. In this respect it is possible to refer to a potential connection between Calder’s Circus Figures and the later wire sculptures by Ph. Van Snick. The reconstruction of Brancusi’s studio in Paris also leaves a powerful impression on him. [Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009]

[3]  Study for a sculpture, 1967

From 1967-1968, Ph. Van Snick regularly visits exhibitions in the Paleis voor Schone Kunsten / Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Around this time he also starts visiting exhibitions in Antwerp, notably those in the Wide White Space Gallery, led by Anny De Decker and Bernd Lohaus. Moreover, he mentions bar conversations in Antwerp as influence on the development of his artistic views. [Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009] R As a child Ph. Van Snick is fascinated by two encyclopedias he

found at home : the Larousse and, several years later, the Winkler Prins (delivered on the basis of the subscription model). A book very dear to him and still in his possession is an illustrated natural history of plants, Histoire naturelle illustrée. Les Plantes, by J. Costantin and F. Faideau, Paris, Librairie Larousse, 1922. At age 16-17, he enjoys reading the book by André Lagarde and Laurent Michard : XXe Siècle. Les grands auteurs français, Collection Littéraire, Bordas / Paris and Asedi / Brussels, 1962. Another book that is dear to him is Spectacle by Jacques Prévert, Paris, Librairie Gallimard, 1949. A first more philosophical book, which influences Ph. Van Snick’s thinking, is Teilhard de Chardin by Claude Cuénot, Paris, “Ecrivains de toujours” / Ed du Seuil, 1962.

16

Chronology

1960 -1969

[4]  Drawing, 1967


Until June 1968

Around 1965 he discovers the edition Dante Allegieri : La Divine Comédie, illustrated by Gustave Doré, Paris, Bibliothèque Marabout. This inspires him to draw in the manner of Doré’s illustrations, which teaches him a lot. Around 1966-1967 Ph. Van Snick reads L’étranger by Albert Camus, Paris, Gallimard, 1957.

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

Around 1967-1968 Ph. Van Snick discovers Histoire de l’Art by Elie Faure during reading sessions organized by his friend Polo Sarafian at the home of the latter. Together they have intense discussions. For many years Ph. Van Snick will maintain a strong bond of friendship with Polo Sarafian, which is fostered by the many texts and letters that Sarafian addresses to him until 1999, when Sarafian dies. [Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009]

TH / — Neo-impressionist paintings and drawings. W Including :

Femme au Chapeau, 1965, pastel on paper. Abrahag en Nog, 1965, etchings. Zelfportret, 1965, oil on unalit, (122 × 100 cm). — In 1967 he makes Portretten. These are mainly drawings in which certain elements, such as closed cloud-like shapes, show influence of Fernand Léger. including : Portret met vlek en symbolen, 1967, Indian ink and acrylic on paper. — Sculptures from plaster testify to the influence of Fernand Léger as well. They are partly figurative, partly abstract. including : Colossal heads with elements that refer to clouds. Sculptuur uit plaaster met poppenogen, 1967 : a flat disk of white plaster in the shape of a cloud, to which three eyes are added, mounted on a metal bar. For this work Ph. Van Snick refers to the influence of Jean Arp, in addition to that of Fernand Léger and Pablo Picasso. [Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009]

EX — Agora Jazzclub, basement of the Pand, Lievevrouwbroerstraat, Ghent, 1965. This is the first exhibition in which Ph. Van Snick participates. He exhibits one painting of onions. This work, according to the artist, shows influence of Octave Landuyt, notably regarding pictorial quality and technique. [Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009]

— Jonge kunstenaars stellen tentoon, Ghent, Vooruit, 1966. Participants : Albert Caufrier, Micheline De Potter, C. De

1960 -1969

Chronology

17


Roover, Etienne Desmet, Elie Elia, Dirk Liefooghe, Frank Liefooghe, Pjeroo Roobjee, Ignes Van De Ghinste, Roland Vandenberghe, Carly Van Overbeke, Philippe Van Snick. Ph. Van Snick exhibits several small paintings : 3. L’homme qu’on croyait soul ; 4. My little birdfriend was a saint o lord ; 5. Présence incertaine au monocle vert ; 6. Mon amie et son ombre chérie [List with participants and titles works, archive Ph.V.S., Brussels] — Confrontatie – 30, Ghent, Stedelijk Instituut voor Handel en Secretariaat, 2 – 9.2 1967. Participants : Gilbert Bakker, Alice De Bakker, Micheline De Potter, Yves De Smet, Karel Dierickx, Hubert Foulon, Gerard Geerinckx, Nikko Kris, Dirk Liefooghe, Frank Liefooghe, Etienne Lievens, Roobjee, Jozef Somerlinck, Roland Van Den Berghe, Philippe Van Snick. Catalog. Ph. Van Snick exhibits paintings (on unalit) and drawings (now largely lost) : 78. Une après-midi chez Mr Vlerick ; 79. Ik en Paulatem ; 80. Mama’s vogel en ik ; 81. D. my love since a year ; 82. Bob Dylan poet ; 83. Portret van Jef Somerlinck [List with participants and titles works, archive Ph.V.S., Brussels]

Julien Revis, the director of the school, who organized the exhibition, was a member of the Vereniging voor het Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent.

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Chronology

1960 -1969


[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

Until June 1968

[5]  Preliminary drawing for a painted sculpture in wood, 1967

1960 -1969

Chronology

19


1968-1969 : Transition from Academy to Professional World B 1968-1969 : After earning his degree in etching from the

Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Ghent, Ph. Van Snick is an assistant in the etching class of Pierre Vlerick during seven months. Through Vlerick he will participate in the Biennale de Paris in 1969. In 1969 Pierre Vlerick becomes director of the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent. For Ph. Van Snick, this marks the end of this period of his life. [Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009] E / I At the end of his studies, Ph. Van Snick is in touch with the Plus Kern Gallery in Ghent and he regularly visits the Wide

White Space Gallery in Antwerp. In Ghent, Yves De Smet organizes an exhibition of the early Belgian abstract painters in the Plus Kern Gallery. Ph. Van Snick, who since his years at the academy has been interested in the work of Georges Van Tongerloo, now also discovers the work of Victor Servranckx, Paul Joostens, and others. In 1969-1970, Yves De Smet visits the first Belgian abstract artists or their surviving relatives, and Ph. Van Snick thereby accompanies him. In this way he comes into contact with the work of Prosper De Troyer, Pierre-Louis Flouquet, Marcel Baugniet, Jean-Jacques Gaillard, and others. Later, in 1973, he visits the Antwerp house of Paul Joostens, which is still rather intact, thanks to Rudi Rommens. In Antwerp Ph. Van Snick becomes acquainted with an internationally oriented art scene through the Wide White Space Gallery. R In 1968 Ph. Van Snick reads Nadja of André Breton, Paris,

Gallimard, 1964. TH / — Witte landschapschilderijen [6], numbered I to IV, 1968. In W these abstract landscapes the colors are painted over with

white oil paint. — Subsequently, Ph. Van Snick quits doing figurative works, and he begins to explore hardness versus softness as a subject. This culminates in Kooien, of which Synthese van Traditioneel L-vormige kamer [7], 1968-1969 is the main example. Two identical volumes, 2 × (350 × 400 × 250 cm), are placed one after the other without touching each other. One is made of iron (meshed wire) and is transparent ; the other consists of a wooden construct covered with unbleached cotton. Each volume also comes with a walkway, made of the same materials as the volume. The work is placed in the attic space of the Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Ghent during the time Ph. Van Snick was an assistant there, so it has not really been shown publicly. His work for the Biennale de Paris evolved from it.

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With these cages I wanted to symbolize a position against a

Chronology

[6]  Witte landschapsschilderijen, 1967

1960 -1969


1968-1969

tradition, and also mark a break from it, from that imprisoning character of traditions. A major break emerges here between the early figurative works and a more conceptual approach.

[Interview with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 6.12 2009]

EX — Four Belgian Printmakers, Brighton, The Foyer. Brighton

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

College of Art, 5 – 16.2 1968. Organization : Pierre Vlerick. Participants : Micheline De Potter, Pjeroo Roobjee, Josef Somerlinck, Philippe Van Snick. Catalog. In the preface by Pierre Vlerick one can read : (…) After several years of experiments in the widest possible range of etching techniques, De Potter, Roobjee, Somerlinck and Van Snick have gone back now to one of the most direct and pure means of expression : the dry point technique.(…) Obsessed by an all-encompassing sense of space, Somerlinck and Van Snick produced pure, sensitive dry point prints.(…) Static and full of erotic tension, Van Snick’s objects are not any more expressive than the elements surrounding them. They have grown rigid in their evolution. Van Snick has given shape to impressionistic life. (sic) Ph. Van Snick exhibits : 2. After Ascentional Sûthra (6) ; 3. After Ascentional Sûthra (5) ; 29. After Ascentional Sûthra (4) ; 30. After Ascentional Sûthra (3) ; 31. After Ascentional Sûthra (2) ; 32. After Ascentional Sûthra (1) [List with participants and titles works, archive Ph.V.S., Brussels]

These etchings were made in response to, and after, the similarly titled edition (see below). — Prentenkabinet. Philippe Van Snick, Ghent, Galerij Richard Foncke and Voorlichtingscentrum “Het 5 e Wiel”, 25.5 – 7.6 1968. The exhibition coincides with an exhibition of work by Pjeroo Roobjee. Ph. Van Snick exhibits drawings from 1967-1968, landscapes with heads and abstract shapes, as well as two sculptures in white plaster from 1967 (including Sculptuur uit plaaster met poppenogen), and one sculpture in wood, painted in pale blue and pink paint (the work was destroyed, the preliminary drawings still exist). A / Ascensional Sutra [238] : initiative of Paul-Armen (Polo) Sarafian ED and Philippe Van Snick, Ghent, 1968.

Collection of poems (15 copies). Text by P. Sarafian and twelve dry-points by Ph. Van Snick. Published by the artists, with the financial support of Anton Herbert.

1960 -1969

Chronology

21


22

Chronology

1960 -1969


[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

1968-1969

[7]  Synthese van Traditioneel L-vormige kamer, 1968-1969

1960 -1969

Chronology

23


1969 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Ghent. G — Plus Kern (run by Yves De Smet and Jenny Van Driessche)

in Ghent : from autumn 1969 to early 1971. — X-one gallery (run by Marc Poirier dit Caulier) in Antwerp (in two different locations) : from late 1969 to early 1971. E / I In 1969 Ph. Van Snick is strongly impressed by the exhibition

Vladimir Tatlin, Eindhoven, Van Abbemuseum, 12.9 – 15.10 1969, a retrospective that includes documents on the various models of Monument to the Third International (1920-1925) and an attempt to reconstruct it (1967-1968). Ph. Van Snick has the catalog of this exhibition. At this time, he is working on the construction of cages and the L-vormige kamer [7]. These works reflect the same spirit. [Interview with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 6.12 2009]

An influential catalog is Kunst der Sechziger jahre in WallrafRichartz Museum Köln, published by the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in 1969 (visual presentation : Wolf Vostell). At the Sixième Biennale de Paris, Paris, October – November 1969, Ph. Van Snick is struck by an installation of Christian Boltanski, Jean Le Gac, and Gina Pane : La concession à perpétuité, 1969. In the parallel exhibition Jeunes Artistes à Paris in the Musée Galliera, he is impressed by the work of Daniel Buren (Bandes verticales, égales et alternées, de 8,7 cm de large), Niele Toroni (Empreintes d’un pinceau n° 50, répétées à intervalles réguliers [30 cm] ), and Christian Boltanski (Le repas, 1969).

[8]  Invitation card, 1969

[Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009 + exhibition catalogs, archive Ph.V.S., Brussels] R — 1969-1970 : the catalog of the reconstruction of Marcel

Duchamp’s Le Grand Verre by Richard Hamilton, published at the occasion of the Duchamp retrospective in the Tate Gallery in London, reverberates strongly with Ph. Van Snick and exerts influence on his process of thought. H / — Quatre projections de façades, or Window Suite [13], 1969. T W The work is realized for the Sixième Biennale de Paris. Mani-

festation Biennale et Internationale des Jeunes Artistes, Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2.10 – 2.11 1969. The project dates from early June 1969. The work starts from the projection on a flat surface of the front side of three-dimensional constructs. It is a steel construction of four frames, placed in the room one after the other. The first element is of metal. The second is of metal, filled with colorless Perspex, with the text window suite printed on it in pale blue lettering. The third is of metal, filled with meshed wire. The fourth element, also of metal, comes with polystyrene brickwork. The bricks are wrapped in cellophane with the printed text window suite in pale blue lettering. [10] [9]  Quatre projections de façade / Window Suite, preliminary drawing, 1969

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Chronology

1960 -1969


1969

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

In a draft for a letter of 2.11 1976, addressed to E. De Wilde, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Ph. Van Snick writes :

[10]  Polystyrene bricks for Window Suite, 1969

In 1968 I realized two large objects with name : “Synthese van traditionele L-vormige kamer”. Two large objects L : 4.5 m H : 3.5 m W : 90 cm, one consisting of a wooden frame covered with unbleached linen, the other is an iron cage construction of the same sizes as the first. The next year, at the occasion of the “Biennale de Paris”, I was given the opportunity to make a new object. This allowed me to realize the work “WINDOW SUITE.” It is the perpendicular projection of “S.V.T.L.K.”, 4 times. – the first window : is open. One can walk through it. – the second window has perspex plates with diagonally “WINDOW SUITE” – the third window has meshed metal netting diam 3 mm – the fourth window is filled with brickwork (polystyrenewrapped in cellophane diagonally printed with window suite. In Paris the walls were placed one after the other. (sic) [Translated from Dutch, archive Ph.V.S., Brussels]

— Letter experiment, October – November 1969. In November 1969, Ph. Van Snick sends some one hundred letters to personal contacts + the mailing list of Plus Kern in Ghent and X-one in Antwerp. On the backside of the envelope the words letter experiment are stamped in red. The envelope contains three white paper sheets of the same size as the envelope. On the first sheet one reads, just below two thin black lines added on the left and right, the following typed sentence (original in English) :

Between those two stripes you can note a distance of a million between you & me (sic)

On the second sheet one reads the typed sentence :

Please write me a letter

On the third sheet one reads the typed sentence :

Van Snick Philippe Sint-Pietersaalststraat 110 Gent

Ph. Van Snick received some thirty replies, also from abroad, including letters from H. Bex-Verschaeren, Marcel Broodthaers (his open letter Mon cher Lamelas of 31 October 1969), James Lee Byars, Amédée Cortier, Yves De Smet, Kasper König (on stationery of A 37 90 89, Antwerp), Roland Patteeuw, Hilaire Roels, Pjeroo Roobjee, Jenny Van Driessche. The results of this experiment were neither exhibited nor published. Ph. Van Snick claims that he was not aware of the letters sent by Christian Boltanski around that same time. [Interviews with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2006-2009]

— Letter, circulated November 1969. Ruled, size A4, with following text (original in English) :

1960 -1969

Chronology

25


[11]  Traditionele ingang met ezelsbrug, 1969

N.B. The approximative chronology is indicates in million years 28 11 69 (sic) Signed :

Van Snick

Collaboration with X-one, Antwerp. It was not linked to an exhibition. — In 1968-1969 the artist also creates several autonomous drawings. Some were shown informally in Plus Kern, Ghent. Including : Traditionele ingang met ezelsbrug [11], drawing, 1969. Gevel, drawing, 1969. — Ph. Van Snick realizes several drawings on sheets used by academy students for architectural exercises that show brick constructions. Next, he makes a series of drawings of bricks (c. 56 × 76 cm),

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Chronology

1960 -1969


1969

for which he uses a drawing table from the architecture department and a drawing device. EX — Kraam 69, Ledeberg, Kunstmarkt, 29 – 31.8 1969.

The Plus Kern Gallery participates with a “graphic shop,” displaying silk prints and graphical works by, among others, Ph. Van Snick. [B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

— 223 m 3, Ghent, Plus Kern, 16.9 – 26.10 1969. Participants : Harmen Abma, Marinus Boezem, Bill Bollinger, Gianfredo Camesi, Erwin Heerich, Bernd Lohaus, Guy Mees, Willy Orskov, Blinky Palermo, Charlotte Posenenske, Philippe Van Snick. Ph. Van Snick exhibits Diafragma [12]: sailcloth fully covering a wall of the Plus Kern space, stretched in between that wall’s two corners, with a forward tilted frame in between the wall and the cloth. (This same sailcloth he later used for drawing an ellipse on it ; the cloth is damaged). [12]  Diafragma, 1969

During this exhibition, via Yves De Smet he came into contact with Marc Poirier dit Caulier (X-one Gallery) and Guy Mees. Commissioned by the BRT, Jef Cornelis realized a film about Plus Kern, broadcasted on 25 September. The film, in which Yves De Smet, Guy Mees, and Philippe Van Snick participate, deals with the role of the Plus Kern as intermediary between the artist and the public. At the occasion of the exhibition, an issue of Plus-Nieuws is published by Plus Kern (Centrum voor Konstruktieve Vormgeving, nr. 1, 16.9 1969, Ghent) with a contribution on the upcoming participation of Willy Plompen, Jan Van Den Abbeel, and Philippe Van Snick in the VI Biennale des Jeunes in Paris. Contribution of Ph. Van Snick : Trois Belges à Paris (3), Gand, le 8 août 1969 (all quotes below translated from French) :

“the reality of an object is convincing — my objects and constructions are not a copy of reality, but they are made of elements from it — a clear language — I plunge man into ‘his’ reality.” [Van Snick]

“I say that the spirit and life are connected with each other at all levels.” [Artaud]

“art ‘is’ constructive (general thought).” [Van Snick]

1960 -1969

Chronology

27


“when art, separated from lived life, loses all authenticity ; when the culture of a divided society tends to tragically isolate the individual increasingly in a rigid ensemble of ‘communitarian’ illusions ; when thirty minutes aboard a packed and smelling autobus will sway the most skeptical among the least numbed … one pulls his revolver !” [Sarafian]

“one should reread the oeuvre of henry miller.” (sic) [Van Snick]

“that the artwork comprises absolute values is the most important creative accomplishment — the work is derived from a serious synthesis of our physical and mental surroundings — art is the closest thing to man, it brings him closer to pure realities — it provokes a growing awareness.” [Van Snick]

— Sixième Biennale de Paris. Manifestation Biennale et Internationale des Jeunes Artistes, Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2.10 – 2.11 1969. Catalog. The Jury International des Arts Visuels de la Sixième Biennale de Paris awards a grant to Willy Plompen, Jan Van Den Abbeel, and Philippe Van Snick for their group work, Trois ambiances en constructions paralleles. Each of the three artists exhibits a work of their own contained in one volume. Ph. Van Snick creates Quatre projections de façades, sometimes called Window Suite [13]. Later that same year, the work of the Biennale de Paris is on view at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent. Dirk Liefooghe completes a black-and-white film : Trois ambiances, 1969.

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1960 -1969

[13]  Window Suite, 1969


1. Philippe Van Snick, artist’s statement, in A View on Belgian Art, exh. cat., Łódz, Poznan, Wroclaw, Krakow, 1984: n.p. 2. http://www.opk-vansnick.be/ english/wiedoetmee.htm. 3. http://www.opk-vansnick.be/ english/index.html. 4. Cf. Wouter Davidts, ‘Tussen schilderij en sculptuur. Over de noodzaak van de concrete ervaring in het werk van Philippe Van Snick’, in: Eva Wittocx (Ed.), Trattenendosi, exh. cat., Ghent: SMAK, 1999: 165-172; Hilde Van Gelder, ‘Fundamentele schilderkunst abstract (III): Philippe Van Snick’, in: Cyriel Stroo, Hilde Van Gelder, and Hans Vlieghe (Eds.), Vlaamse meesters. Zes eeuwen schilderkunst, Leuven: Davidsfonds, 2004: 285-287. 5. Hilde Van Gelder & Wouter Davidts, ‘Research (on an) exhibition. Some methodological reflections concerning Philippe Van Snick’s early photographs’, in Ibid. (Eds.), Philippe Van Snick. Undisclosed Recipients, exh. cat., Mechelen   –  Strombeek: bkSM, 2006: 11-12. 6. Ward Daenen, ‘Ze draagt de wereld (in tien stippen) op haar arm’, De Morgen, (18 October 2006): 10.

Representing the Energy and Impalpability of Matter

Hilde Van Gelder

“I found the material on my way. We don’t have a free choice of things. Neither of events.” Philippe Van Snick, 22 April 19841 For six years, from 2004 to 2010, a multidisciplinary team of scholars has worked on a project devoted to the oeuvre of Philippe Van Snick.2 When this project took off, its broader concern was labeled as “Minimalist and abstract pictorial space and time.”3 One of the central objectives of the team was to interpret the work of Van Snick — known to the public at large mainly as an abstract painter — from a scholarly, art historical perspective. The assumption was that his spatially oriented works displayed affinity with the so-called Belgian counterpart to Minimalist painting.4 Largely through interventions of Anny De Decker, owner of the gallery that displayed works by Van Snick between 1972 and 1976, several shortcomings of this hypothesis surfaced during a first workshop held on 3 June 2005. Philippe Van Snick was trained as a painter. In the early years of his creative development he made various paintings, the four snowy landscapes from 1968 being regarded as his most accomplished works [6, pp. 20-21]. From roughly 1970 onward, however, and to the surprise of many, his artistic production would evolve into a complex multimedial oeuvre, with painting largely receding to the background, albeit temporarily. This “blind spot” within his oeuvre would develop into a focal point of the research team.5 On 1 June 2006 a workshop was held on this subject in the offices of De Witte Raaf, a Belgian art journal, with an eye to preparations of an exhibition scheduled for the fall of 2006 at De Garage in Mechelen. Here Philippe Van Snick showed for the first time a generous selection of his early photographical and cinematographic work to the public [280, pp. 314, 316-317]. This exhibition, described by De Morgen, a leading Belgian newspaper, as “this fall season’s secret tip,” was a revelation indeed.6 Essentially, the works on display contradicted the hypothesis that Van Snick was an abstract artist, not only because of the sheer number of photographs, slides, and films, but also because of the coherency and quality of this segment of his artistic output. Around the same time, the Minimalist premise began to be questioned seriously as well. On 19 January 2006, at the PMMK in Ostend, Van Snick’s Chromatische reeks (2005) [278, pp. 310-311] was attached on the museum walls. Additionally, through digital projection during a workshop at this museum, a large selection of Van Snick’s painterly achievements entered into an open

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7. Interview with Philippe Van Snick, Schaerbeek, 3 February 2010.

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dialog with works on view in adjacent rooms by such artists as Marthe Wéry, Jef Verheyen, Dan Van Severen, Amedée Cortier, Walter Leblanc, and Guy Mees. Many of the oeuvres of several of these Belgian artists are still considered to be closely related to the American tradition of Minimalist painting. The conclusion of our intense research meeting in Ostend was unanimous: one cannot simply put the work of Van Snick into this group. Of course, he is slightly younger (°1946), but that seemed hardly pertinent at first. Additional conversations with the artist and further in-depth research of the team revealed, more fundamentally, that it was the chronology of the oeuvre that made it impossible to link it up with the group mentioned above. The painterly works of Van Snick that tend to be associated with Minimalism were developed only after 1979. Evidently, this is far too late in order for us to speak in some relevant way of Minimalism, a movement that culminated in the mid 1960s. In this respect, Van Snick’s artistic career rather runs parallel to that of several international conceptual artists, including Sol LeWitt, Daniel Buren, and Mel Bochner. Like them, Van Snick, after working on a conceptual oeuvre developed during the long first decade of his career, would move on to renewed, post-conceptual modes of painting. From the 1980s onward, then, painting would regain a central place, if not an almost exclusive one, in his work. The exhibition at M in Leuven aspires, among other things, to let the contemporary audience (re)discover the evolution and coherency of Van Snick’s oeuvre. From the earliest period, Van Snicks monumental Synthese van Traditioneel L-vormige kamer (1968-1969) [7, pp. 22-23; 298, p. 345] and a work shown at the Paris Biennial, Window Suite (1969) are on view [13, p. 28; 298, p. 345]. As regards the first work, which consists of two volumes, Van Snick has referred in an interview to his being impressed by Stanley Kubrick’s legendary science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). He alludes in particular to the encounter of the ape people with the giant, magical monolith. In his view this scene incarnates the mysticism of Modernist abstract art, a mysticism that reached a turning point in Minimalist art. It is the apotheosis of the belief in a culminating moment of insight and clarity, whereby Van Snick posed the straightforward question: “where, in fact, do you find yourself at such moment?”7 To him, the only possible answer was that such insight could impossibly be hovering somewhere in some void, but ought to be traced back to our earthly reality. As such, this work underscores how all of us are inevitably captives of worldly conventions and social relationships. Window Suite consists of four metal constructions, which are the twodimensional projection of the ‘façade’ of Synthese van Traditioneel L-vormige kamer. The fourth wall consists of several walls built from tiny bricks cut by the artist from styrene plates. He took photographs of those bricks, one of which he published in the first issue of the journal Plus-Nieuws (16 September 1969) entitled Eléments de la réalité. It appears as if with these two works Van

Representing the Energy and Impalpability of Matter


8. As regards the relation to Robert Morris, see also Kim Paice, ‘”Marks of sympathy”’, in Van Gelder & Davidts 2006: 95; and Kim Paice, ‘Patches of Sensation’, in Hilde Van Gelder & MariePascale Gildemyn (Eds.), Philippe Van Snick. Pans de Sensation, Cahiers van het IvOK, Leuven: Acco, 2009: 9. 9. Robert Morris, ‘Anti Form,’ Artforum, VI: 8 (April 1968): 33-35. 10. Philippe Van Snick, artist’s statement in A View on Belgian Art: n.p. 11. In this sentence, Van Snick establishes a link not only with Robert Morris’s experiments but also with those of Robert Smithson on the materiality of the artwork itself. In this respect, see Hilde Van Gelder, ‘The Fall from Grace. Late Minimalism’s Conception of the Intrinsic Time of the Artwork-asMatter’, Interval(le)s—I, 1 (2004): 83-97 — http://www. ulg.ac.be/cipa/pdf/van%20 gelder.pdf. 12. Philippe Van Snick, invitation card for solo exhibition Dynamic/Mind/Drawings. Van Snick (tekeningen), X-One Gallery, Antwerp (1970). He issued an extensive version of the same definition on the invitation card of Philippe Van Snick. Dynamic Minds Drawings /Extension, Groningen: Groninger Museum, 1970.

Snick sought swiftly to cover the three-dimensional side of Minimalist Art. Interestingly, Synthese van Traditioneel L-vormige kamer has links to Robert Morris’s famous L-beams (1965).8 Yet there is also a clear resemblance with the post-Minimalist, ‘anti-form’ work of Morris in Eléments de la réalité [10, p. 25].9 However, that for the invitation card of Window Suite Van Snick chose a silkscreen printed postcard depicting statistical indications of constructions of housing units in Europe from 1968 [8, p. 24], rather suggests a reconnection of his work to a social reality in a way that at the time one also encountered in the work of, for example, Dan Graham. Next, the art of Van Snick would soon shift toward a conceptual phase, whereby he never lost sight of the importance of careful attention for the materiality and tactility of his works. He refers to this as his attention for “the energy of matter and its impalpability.”10 From then on, he would begin to employ several key themes that recur in his work to this day. To Van Snick, just as for Morris, perfect or ‘good’ shapes such as circles or spheres take on the connotation of an illusion: we hardly ever encounter them in the real world. Moreover, they never remain stable for long because their matter is subject to internal or entropic processes of transformation.11 Van Snick stresses that observation of a perfect shape is relative: when for instance a circle is set into motion, one can see it taking on the shape of a line or an ellipse [30, p. 58]. In 1970 he publishes a definition of the ellipse that suggests his fascination for this dynamic phenomenon. He writes: “The ellipse is a conical section without (real) asymptotes and with an eccentricity E = C : A < 1; for C = E = O it becomes a circle.”12 Around 1970, ellipses show up as a crucial shape in the various media applied by the artist. In the same year, he makes a black-and-white photograph of a hand that holds a barbecue’s grid-like grill plate, covered by a white sheet with an elliptical shape cut out [17, p. 40]. In addition, he creates the series of drawings Dynamic Mind Drawings: Ellips-Ellipsoïde [27 / 28, pp. 50-55]. In late 1970, for the MTL Gallery, he makes a sketch of an ellipse-shaped drawing in black pigment powder on sailcloth, to be put on the ground. If the project was never realized, a photocopy of the sketch drawing was sent as an invitation, carrying the utopian title Dynamic World Project (DWP) [34, p. 59]. From 1971, Van Snick also worked regularly with a piece of sailcloth on which he put a large image of an ellipsoid, entitled Ellips-Ellipsoïde blow up [70, pp. 98-99 and inside cover]. He took it with him when he traveled or would spread it out in his backyard to take photographs of it. Whenever he found readymade elliptical shapes in nature, such as footprints in the snow or eucalyptus leaves, he took photographs of them or started to collect them. In 1979 he photographed the infinite circularity of Formula One auto-races from his television screen [14, p. 33]. Repeatedly Van Snick has claimed that the ellipse, as a mathematical figure with two focal points, led him to the recurring theme

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13. ‘Ph. Van Snick in gesprek met M.H.K.’ in: Aktuele Kunst in België. 19 portretten, Museumkrant, Ghent: Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst (MarchApril 1979): 14. 14. Interview with Philippe Van Snick, Schaerbeek, 3 February 2010. 15. Van Gelder & Davidts 2006: 16. 16. Interview with Philippe Van Snick, Schaerbeek, 5 February 2010.

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of duality, of physical poles that continue to attract and repel each other, “like a magnetic field.”13 The ellipse and its potential for further development into other shapes also prompted him to experiment with permutations of number codes 0-9, as well as with decimal systems. There is one drawing [19, p. 41], published in PlusNieuws (1970), that nicely captures his sustained research process: Van Snick visualizes his fascination for the shape of the ellipse by placing it centrally on the page, while letting it evolve in a spiraling way into a cone. At the bottom of the sheet there is a dot, to which Van Snick right next to it refers as an “absolute cell.” Dots and points, developed in decimal constellations, would be an increasingly central theme of his work in the years to follow. The dot evolves into a small line, which he called the “true cell,” in order to develop further, via an increasingly curving line, into an ellipse. On his drawing Van Snick characterized the ellipse’s shifting into an ellipsoid shape as “annulling duality.” From 1976, the eclipse emerges in his work as an interrelated theme. Van Snick made all sorts of shapes that flow from his study of ellipses or partial solar eclipses. In the design for the three sunblinds, which he executed spatially on orange sailcloth with black acrylic [98, p. 123], the eclipse shape is larger than the sailcloth. This should leave a tangible impression with the spectator of how natural phenomena always exceed our physical perception of them.14 For his work Eclips (0-9) from 1980-81, which was displayed at the Middelheimpark Biennial in Antwerp in 1981 [118, p. 149], he cut the three potential eclipse shapes from the park’s lawn, casting the resulting holes in three times ten plaster fragments. This resulted in sculptural elements with raw and robust shapes, without any smooth contours or surfaces. Finally, he displayed them in a three-dimensional installation in the pavilion at his disposal. In this case, too, he intended to draw the spectator’s attention to the intrinsic dynamic of matter itself. Notoriously, Van Snick speaks in this context of the “instability of the material.”15 He represents this instability in the most basal forms, which in diverse cultures often have a ritual function. He equally shows this in his most recent film Percept, Affect et Concept (2009) [292, p. 332] by including photographs, for example, of people from Papua New-Guinea gathered in front of their oval shields with totem paintings, or of African, ellipseshaped tattoos on the back. Furthermore, he shows in his film an archival photograph of a group of people gathered around a rectangular table for an important meeting. The rectangle fits in the ellipse. In physics, as Van Snick has indicated, the ellipse channels divergent chaotic elements by bringing them together temporarily, the ellipse serving as the binding force.16 A table has a similar effect: even if there are various tensions among those present, still they all sit together around the table. As such, the ellipse is a transcendental given, so to speak, rife with potentiality. It seems the force from which conditions for potentiality may evolve.

Representing the Energy and Impalpability of Matter


[14]â&#x20AC;&#x192; Autorace, 1979

Hilde Van Gelder

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[15]â&#x20AC;&#x192; Pans de Sensation (Restauratie in Wit), 2007. Work in situ: Studio Kesselstraat, Schaerbeek, Brussels, 2007-2009

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Representing the Energy and Impalpability of Matter


17. Cf. Van Gelder & Davidts 2006: 16. 18. Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia, transl. by Brian Massumi, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987: 316. 19. Deleuze & Guattari 1987: 317. 20. Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, “Percept, Affect, and Concept,” What Is Philosophy? transl. by Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell, New York: Columbia University Press, 1991: 184. 21. Philippe Van Snick, ‘Brussel, 27 April 1993’, Witte de With – Cahier #1, October 1993, Dusseldorf: Richter Verlag, 1993: 146.

An element of Philippe Van Snick’s investigation of the instability of materials is a reflection on how, like a thief in the night, impurities sneak into the purity of materials. He aims to leave behind a penetrating visual impression of how stability subsides, how symmetry reshapes itself to asymmetry, to regain a balance. In this context, he speaks of “agency,” of the ordering or arranging of elements.17 With this he means the particular transformation of the many tiny connections in the world, which sometimes are barely noticeable to the naked eye but which may have large effects at all sorts of levels nonetheless. In this respect Van Snick has repeatedly voiced his fascination for what Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus (1987) describe as “the T factor” or the territorializing factor (facteur territorialisant).18 Social functions, Deleuze and Guattari argue, are organized by being turned into territorialized activities, such as hunting, sexuality, or home building. Similarly, that rhythms or melodies are expressed in features that belong to them, such as color, smell, sound, and silhouette, is also an instance of a territorialized event. This organization of functions with an eye to further developing a territory Deleuze and Guattari refer to as art. A well-organized territory, such as for instance a property, is the result of art, of a marking — they speak of a poster or placard — that develops into a more advanced organization. In this respect, it is possible, according to Deleuze and Guattari, to turn a color into one’s individual banner or placard.19 This is precisely what Philippe Van Snick has done. With colors he has staked out his territorial markings [232, p. 251; 235, p. 253; 261, p. 292; 265, p. 297]. In this way he came to develop his well-known ten color palette. Those colors have no symbolic level, but should be seen as an open, mobile signature, as well as an affirmation of his individuality as artist, much in the same way as birds cover a particular area [16, p. 38-39]. Such markings are no demarcations. On the contrary, as individual, expressive markings, they are there prior to a well-demarcated territory, or, in other words, an ordered society. At the same time they are capable of developing a territory and mold it in various ways, thus enabling transformations of demarcated territories to new constellations. Deleuze and Guattari refer to them as “blocks of sensations in the territory” (blocs de sensations dans le territoire).20 Many examples of such created ‘blocks of sensations’ can be found in Van Snicks oeuvre since the 1980s, such as Asymmetrisch Rood (1993), which he presented at Witte de With in Rotterdam. The work consisted of a glow of red and blue that could be noticed way into the other rooms [197, pp. 218-222]. As Van Snick has commented, one may look at it as a ‘blow-up’ of the Symmetrische en asymmetrische reeks (1987-88). It existed “first in [his] mind, where dimensions are relative and no materials are needed.”21 Next, the concrete dimension took shape in the confrontation and interaction with the actual spaces of Witte de With. To Van Snick, it involved a placing of “Red against

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22. Van Snick, ‘Brussel, 10 May 1993’, in Witte de With, 1993: 147. 23. This process was extensively described and documented in Van Gelder & Gildemyn 2009. 24. Anny De Decker, ‘Philippe Van Snick’, in: Jef Geys, Bernd Lohaus, Guy Mees, Philippe Van Snick, exh. cat., Lille: Quai du Wault – Dunkerque: Ecole Régionale des Beaux-Arts Georges-Pompidou, 1987: 39.

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Day and Night.”22 He added that what matters is to experience the “roundaround (rondomrond) as reality” itself, instead of as a traditional isolated object, a notion he does not believe in. Between 2005 and 2007 this research of ‘blocks of sensations,’ expressed through a programmatic development of his color system, culminated in a painterly work that unfolded in as many as six stages in a studio specifically chosen for this project, located at Kesselsstraat 14 in Schaerbeek (near Brussels). The work shifted from Pans de Sensation to Saturation, or from white toward increasingly saturated color, and next it darkened gradually to black (Eclips) in order to find its resolution in Restauratie in Wit [15, p. 34].23 On 15 November 2006 the artist organized a public screening of Il deserto rosso by Michelangelo Antonioni (1964) in the Kesselsstraat studio. This film, to which he alluded before in a work such as Désert Rouge (1998) [223, p. 246], proves of fundamental relevance for lending even greater profundity to the painterly research process Van Snick carried out during the two years he worked on Pans de Sensation. The scene in which the two principal amorous protagonists Giuliana and Zeller encounter each other for the first time alone in the imaginary future shop of Giuliana, which she is decorating in several colored surfaces, sketches a realistic story. The spectator who observes the various stages of Pans de Sensation should bear this in mind. The film clarifies how the wider oeuvre of Van Snick addresses the irresistible, fatal attraction between man and woman, opposites such as day and night and other concrete forms of binary systems that contradict each other in the very act of completing each other. This concern suggests that the only relevant way of speaking of abstraction in the oeuvre of Philippe Van Snick has to depart from the insight that in his case abstraction always is about translation or transformation of concrete elements from everyday reality toward a more universal given. This universality, in turn, is rendered concrete in Van Snick’s personal visual language, in an exceedingly coherent and sustained artistic process. As Anny De Decker wrote: “That Philippe Van Snick is not merely concerned with abstract notions but with elements inspired by lived life clearly shows when he perforates ten times the images of a film or when he exhibits a herbarium.”24 His art critically engages with such notions as modernity and industrialization, but refrains from seeking to have direct social impact. Van Snick works with his own concepts that act on the spectator’s perception, intending to affect his mind in such way that the person involved will perhaps take it into account in future behavioral decisions or situations. His performance in 1984 on the steps of the stock exchange building in Brussels (Demonstratie Goud & Zilver) is the most radical expression of this aim [151, p. 175]. On 15 June 1972, Fernand Spillemaeckers wrote in De Volksgazet that the work of Van Snick belongs to those kinds of art that only achieve their full impact when the artist painstakingly holds to his own agenda for many years.

Representing the Energy and Impalpability of Matter


25. Els Roelandt, ‘Een zweem van lichtheid’, De FinancieelEconomische Tijd, (13 December 2000): 11.

Clearly, he did so, without compromising. In 2000 Els Roelandt lauded the second major exhibition of Van Snick at the SMAK in Ghent (the first one dating back to 1984) by claiming that the work “is still exceedingly current, and that it tells us things that perhaps today are more to the point than, say, fifteen years ago.”25 She adds suggesting that the work “has taken its time, as a perceptive viewer will notice.” More than ever, today the “sober” — the term is by Anny De Decker — yet incredibly dazzling oeuvre of Philippe Van Snick deserves to be rediscovered by the public.

Hilde Van Gelder

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[16]  Duiven, 1974


1980 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels. G Galerie Albert Baronian, Brussels : from 1980 to 1984.

R Late 1970s – early 1980s : — Sigmund Freud : Le rêve et son interprétation, Paris, Gallimard, Collection idées, 1925 (1979). Late 1970s – early 1980s, Ph. Van Snick reads several works of Georges Bataille : — Bataille. Communications et Interventions. Colloque dirigé par Philippe Sollers, Centre Culturel International de Cerisy-la-Salle, 29.6 – 9.7.1972, Paris, ed. 10/18. U.G.E., 1973. Ph. Van Snick is interested in his “theory of transgression.” He also has interest in Bataille’s thinking about nature, such as how nature is lavishly productive: a single seed generates a whole tree with again millions of seeds, and how the author applies this notion to social and economic concerns.

[109]  (0-9) K., 1980

[Interview with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 6.12.2009]

— Georges Bataille : Ma mère, Paris, ed. 10/18. U.G.E., 1973. — Georges Bataille : Madame Edwarda, Le mort, Histoire de l’oeil, Paris, ed. 10/18. U.G.E., 1979. — Georges Bataille : Les larmes d’Eros, Paris, ed. 10/18, 1961-1971. — Georges Bataille : Le Bleu du Ciel, Paris, ed. 10/18. U.G.E., 1957. — Alfred Jarry, Ubu, Paris, Gallimard, Collection Folio, 1931 (1980). TH / — In 1979-1980 : the fusing of “color” and “decagon”, and W transition from decagon to painting.

Through the concept of the decagon I in fact came back to color. I elaborated it in color, and in this way I returned to painting. [Interview with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, December 2009]

Including : (0-9) K.   [109], 1980, gouache on paper, 20 × (42 × 30 cm). Series of ten diptychs : consists of 10 × an irregular decagon, divided into ten random planes, whereby each plane is filled with one of the ten colors + 10 × an irregular decagon, filled with the ten colors that are mixed. This work serves as basis of the program that the artist will return to later on, in the mid-1990s. — The Polychromes déstabilisés    [94, 100] are further developed in 1980, and evolve into the Monochromes in 1980 and 1981. First Polychromes déstabilisés of 1980 : acrylic on canvas on cardboard. — First Monochromes déstabilisés in 1980, rendered in the ten colors : red, yellow, blue, orange, violet, green, white, black, gold, and silver.

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1980

First Ph. Van Snick made studies on small sizes ; there is one small version on paper. Non-dated notes of Ph. Van Snick:

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

Destabilization of monochromes means : the destabilization of fixed ideas, of principles, of God, of established ideas. The dynamism of matter and mind. The discovery of infinite possibilities. The conditional extended. The asymmetric theory of growth. The splintered cosmogony. words  objects  numbers  colors The abolition of dogmas, hierarchies, paternalism, power

[110]  Monochrome Déstabilisé – re (blauw), 1980

[Translated from French, archive Ph.V.S. Brussels]

Monochrome Déstabilisé – re (rood), 1980, acrylic on canvas on cardboard, minimum sizes : (110 × 75 cm) / variable spatial arrangement. Monochrome Déstabilisé – re (blauw)  [110], 1980, acrylic on canvas on cardboard, minimum sizes : (110 × 75 cm) / variable spatial arrangement. Monochrome Déstabilisé – re (geel), 1980, acrylic on canvas on cardboard, minimum sizes : (110 × 75 cm) / variable spatial arrangement.  Monochrome Déstabilisé – re (oranje), 1980, acrylic on canvas on cardboard, minimum sizes : (110 × 75 cm) / variable spatial arrangement. Monochrome Déstabilisé – re (violet), 1980, acrylic on canvas on cardboard, minimum sizes : (110 × 75 cm) / variable spatial arrangement. Monochrome Déstabilisé – re (groen), 1980, acrylic on canvas on cardboard, minimum sizes : (110 × 75 cm) / variable spatial arrangement. Monochrome Déstabilisé – re (wit), 1980, acrylic on canvas on cardboard, minimum sizes : (110 × 75 cm) / variable spatial arrangement. Monochrome Déstabilisé – re (zwart), 1980, acrylic on canvas on cardboard, minimum sizes : (110 × 75 cm) / variable spatial arrangement. Monochrome Déstabilisé – re (goud), 1980, acrylic on canvas on cardboard, minimum sizes : (110 × 75 cm) / variable spatial arrangement. Monochrome Déstabilisé – re (zilver), 1980, acrylic on canvas on cardboard, minimum sizes : (110 × 75 cm) / variable spatial arrangement. — Oog  [111], 1980 : sculpture from white plaster with an organic oval shape. In the middle a black pupil is added (first in Indian ink, later painted over with acrylic paint). To realize this sculpture, Ph. Van Snick dug a pit in the ground and filled it with plaster.

[111]  Oog, 1980

— Mini déstabilisés : 10 planes, each one divided into ten. Each part has one of the ten colors (study material), 1980.

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143


144

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1980 -1989

[112]  Monochrome Déstabilisé – re, 1980


[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

1980

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Based on these forms, Ph. Van Snick also realized decoupages. EX — “1980” Jonge Belgische Kunst, Antwerp, ICC – Internatio-

naal Cultureel Centrum, 28.6 – 7.9.1980. Participants : Guillaume Bijl, Guy Bleus, Luc Coeckelberghs, Johan Dehollander, Stefan De Jaeger, Daniel Deltour, Denmark, Jean Pierre De Roo, Danny Devos, Daniël Dewaele, Patrick Joly, Gerard Lannoye, Liefde en Berouw, Daniël Matthys, Una Maye, Ria Pacquée, Bernard Queeckers, Hugo Roelandt, Guy Rombouts, Michel Smets, Leo Steculorum, Thé Van Bergen, Frank Van Herck, Philippe Van Snick, Walter Van Rooy, Jan Vercruysse. Catalog. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : (0-9) K.  [109], 1980, gouache on paper, 20 × (42 × 30 cm) + Blauw Glas  [113], 1979, 10 irregular pieces from a blue sheet of glass (hung against the window of bay window on the second floor). — Philippe Van Snick, Geldern (D), Haus Nieting, 25.10 – 21.11.1980. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Polychrome déstabilisé-re  [114], 1980, canvas marouflaged on cardboard, minimum sizes : (70 × 50 cm) / maximal sizes : spread across the four walls of a space + edition. A / — Sketches : ED 10 pages – 10 couleurs : first sketch for Revue numéro, nr. 6,

1980, Brussels, ed. C. Jadot, F. Tilman, Eric de Moffarts. 0.9 couleurs – 0.9 objets – 0.9 décagones : second sketch. (further elaborated in catalog Museum Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent, 1984) This project was not realized. Zonder titel, 1980, edition on 20 copies, publ. Haus Nieting (Geldern), black/white offset, (42 × 27 cm). Motif of Polychrome déstabilisé-re.

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[113]  Blauw Glas, 1979. Installation view: ICC, Antwerp, 1980

1980 -1989


[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

1980

[114]  Polychrome déstabilisé-re, 1980. Installation view: Haus Nieting, Geldern, 1980

[115]  Studio view, 1980

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1981 B — Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels.

— Birth of Sarah, daughter of Philippe Van Snick and Dominique Schotte. G Galerie Albert Baronian, Brussels : from 1980 to 1984.

R Early 1980s : — Le Corbusier : Le Modulor. Contre la pollution visuelle, Paris, Denoël / Gonthier, 1977. T H / — Eclips (0-9), 1981, plaster, (c. 10 × 400 × 600 cm). W

— Philippe Van Snick. (0-9) Monochomes déstabilisés-re, Brussels, Albert Baronian, 1981.  [117] Text on the invitation card : RED from 18 April to 27 April BLUE from 28 April to 7 May YELLOW from 8 May to 17May GREEN from 18 May to 28 May ORANGE from 29 May to 8 June VIOLET from 9 June to 18 June WHITE from 19 June to 29 June BLACK from 30 June to 9 July SILVER from 10 July to 19 July GOLD from 20 July to 29 July.

[Translated from French]

In this first series of exhibitions only the Monochromes déstabilisés are actually shown : in each display one color plane divided into ten parts, spread across the four walls of the space. In the next gallery exhibition (October – November 1981), the 100 colored pieces are distributed in a random fashion on the four walls of the main space.  [116] (Ph. Van Snick realized the re before (drawing, graphite on paper), but he exhibited it only in 1984, at the occasion of his exhibition at the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent, with the 100 pieces grouped again by color.) [Interview with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, December 2009]

[116]  Philippe Van Snick. (0-9) Monochomes déstabilisés-re, Brussels, Albert Baronian, 1981.

EX — 16 e Biennale Middelheim, Antwerp, Openluchtmuseum voor Beeldhouwkunst – Middelheimpark, 14.6 – 11.10.1981. Catalog. Ph. Van Snick realizes Eclips (0-9)  [118], 1980-1981. The work is described in the catalog (p. 51) as follows (translated from Dutch) :

The ECLIPS forms are cut from the lawn’s surface, and each one is cast in 10 different plaster fragments. The fragments are removed from their cast and arranged in

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[117]  Invitation card, Albert Baronian, Brussels, 1981.

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1981

a random fashion in the pavilion. The pieces are numbered. (0-9) ECLIPS.

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

(The work is shown in its numbered arrangement at the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent, in 1984.) — (0-9) Monochromes déstabilisés-re. Une exposition de Philippe Van Snick, Brussels, Albert Baronian, 13.10 – 14.11.1981. [117] Text on the invitation card (translated from French) :

It involves a temporary composition realized with the 100 elements of the ‘monochromes déstabilisés-re’, meaning : the red, the blue, the yellow, the green, the orange, the violet, the white, the black, the silver, and the gold.

[118]  Eclips (0-9), 1981. Installation views: 16 e Biennale Middelheim, Antwerp, 1981

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149


[119]  Décagones, 1981

[120]  Studio views, 1981

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[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

1981

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151


1982 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels. G Galerie Albert Baronian, Brussels : from 1980 to 1984.

I On the backside of a drawing, dated Aug 82 in the upper

right corner, one reads the following note by Ph. Van Snick :

Concerning P. Mondrian, I can say he was a vulgar painter, who, knowingly, held on to his principles. Just as a priest holds on to the principles of his Church.

[Translated from Dutch, archive Ph.V.S. Brussels]

Comment on this quotation :

It was at the time of the monochromes déstabilisés and I felt that you should also knock the gods off their pedestal, and be somewhat nasty. And Mondrian was in fact rather priest-like…

[Interview with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 13.12.2009]

R — Herman Melville : Moby Dick.

The contribution of Ph. Van Snick to the catalog De structuur voorbij, Antwerp, ICC, 15.1 – 20.2.1983, is accompanied by a photograph of the artist, sitting in a chair while overtly holding up this book in his right hand. Around 1982-1983 : — Oswald Spengler : L’homme et la technique, Paris, Idées / Gallimard, 1958. TH / W

1981-1982 was a rather unquiet period… [Discussion with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 2008]

— Drawings, studies, sketches . Including : Eclats, 1982 : drawings in Indian ink on paper, and in orange gouache on paper. Drawings with broken lines + A-B-C.

[121]  Spiraal, 1982

The intention was to develop a certain design or typography of the alphabet based on the decagon system. [Interview with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, December 2009]

Drawings of glass with wire. These are also found in the photographs of 1982. Hoeken, 1982 : series of 22 drawings, brush and Indian ink on sheets of paper cut square-like. On each sheet a random angle is drawn by means of two casual brushstrokes. 10 vegen × 10, 1982 : series of 12 drawings with brush and Indian ink on paper. On each drawing ten smudges are added, as in a rather lyrical gesture, spatially spread across the sheet. (NB : one drawing has 11 smudges on it) [122]  Tartines, 1982

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1982

— Sketches for sculptures, 1982. Including : Vis sculpture – mémoire, 1982 : drawing, pencil on paper, with spiral and screw movement (according to the artist a reference to the work of Vladimir Tatlin).

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

— Sculptures : Schroefsculpturen [123], 1982 : two were done in clay and one in plaster. This last one consists of a cylinder with signs in it of a screw movement. Tartines [122, 124], August-September 1982 : sculpture from plaster. The work consists of ten equal boards in the shape of a slice of bread, cast in plaster and stacked on top of each other. The first board is complete and represents zero. The next 9 broad are cut through in the middle by a broken line. This line contains 1 to 9 angles, and therefore represents the numbers 1 to 9. The boards can be put on display as one stack or side by side on the ground, or in a combination consisting of a stack with one complete board + nine halved boards and next to it the nine other halved ones side by side flat on the ground.

[123]  Schroefsculpturen, 1982

There are various sketches of this sculpture, both drawings and cut-out forms in cardboard. Tartines evolved from Cycle (also called Foetus [126]) : a closed movement that has both an organic and a more structured manifestation (arc shapes + angles). In Tartines there is a development that starts from a fully organic, rounded form (derived from the organic form of a slice of bread), within which a structure develops, starting from one crack and evolving toward a line with nine angles. [Interview with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, December 2009]

This work runs parallel with the Cijfercodes. — Sketches for Cijfercodes. Including : (0-9) Plastic, Indian ink on paper, signed VS ’82, with on the left of the sheet a spiral (0) and on the right nine forms consisting of broken straight lines (1-9). Drawing, Indian ink on paper, of spiral + 9 broken lines = number code, with following text :

The orbital indifference is confirmed by the successive presentation of the destabilized monochromes — from 18 April to 29 July 1981. All different one from the other but without difference as such. The apparent content of the object in orbit changes. For this reason one can say : subjective object in orbital position  illegible, decipherable in stages. One therefore needs to objectify the object and place oneself in orbit—for the reading. To acquire different descriptions of the same form. In the manifestation of destabilized monochromes there is difference of form and color, as there is indifference of form and color. There is confusion = reflec[124]  Tartines, 1982

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tion on what one has said what one has seen, and what one expects to see. Has the space changed ? That what is added changes, and offers a changing image of the space. Is it a spatial work ? It involves the traditional elements of two and three-dimensional languages put in orbit. A copper wire that represents a series of numbers, of which the 0 is represented by the spiral, namely the 0 : spiral contains all numbers (0-9) It is an intervention to put things in orbit and to have them change meaning. The observation of a landscape at 5 km/h and 100 km/h … the view of the landscape will be different from one situation to the next —but both will occur within the same time. [Translated from French, archive Ph.V.S. Brussels]

— (0-9) Cijfercode, 1982 : large version, maximal sizes of the elements (250 cm to 300 cm), bronze wire (4 mm diameter). — (0-9) Cijfercode, 1982 : second, smaller version, maximal sizes of the elements (60 cm to 100 cm), bronze wire (4 mm diameter).

[125]  Ficcusblad met cijfercode, from: Matrix, 1982

— Grand polychrome, 1982, sketch, pencil on squared paper. The work was not executed (6 m W). — Grand polychrome, 1982, sketch, pencil on paper + collage. The work was not executed. — Foetus, 1982, series of works on paper, watercolor and graphite on Japanese paper, 9 × (41 × 29.5 cm). EX — Mens en Omgeving (3). Beelden en Tekens, Breda, De

Beyerd, centrum voor beeldende kunst,10.7 – 3.10.1982. Participants : Marinus Boezem, L. Abel, T. Botschuijver, J. Shaw, Pieter Engels, Pierre Hubert, Cyril Lixenberg, Jan van Munster, Jean-Marc Navez, Jo Noorbergen, Zoltin Peeter, Paul Van Rafelghem, Philippe Van Snick, Mieke Struik, Luc Verbist, Jan Verleye/Sjoerd Buisman. Catalog. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : In the city : (0-9) Cijfercode [128], 1982 : stretched in two parallel rows in between four lampposts, on the left and right at both the beginning and end of a bridge, bronze wire (5 mm diameter). This is the beginning of the number code (the colored one follows later on). In the rooms of De Beyerd : (0-9) Monochromes déstabilisés – re, 1980. The whole series (= 100 pieces) is shown, in a random order on one wall, with the ten colors mixed. [127] — De verzameling van het Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Gent, Brussels, Paleis voor Schone Kunsten / Palais des Beaux-Arts, 16.7 – 5.9.1982. Catalog. [126]  Foetus, 1982

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[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

1982

[127]  (0-9) Monochromes déstabilisés – re, 1980. Installation view: De Beyerd, centrum voor beeldende kunst, Breda, 1982

[128]  (0-9) Cijfercode, 1982. Work in situ: Breda, 1982

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155


[150]  Fysical Room, 1983 / T   artines, 1982. Installation view: Galerie Albert Baronian, Brussels, 1984

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1984

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

Afterward : L’art et le temps. Regards sur la quatrième dimension, Geneva, Musée Rath, 15.2 – 14.4.1985. Time – the Fourth Dimension, Humlebaek, Louisiana, 27.4 – 16.6.1985. ZEIT. Die vierte Dimension in der Kunst, TIME. The fourth dimension in Art, Mannheim, Städtische Kunsthalle, 11.7 – 1.9.1985. Vienna, Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, 19.9 – 17.11.1985. ART & TIME, London, Barbican Art Gallery, 19.2 – 27.4.1986. A / — Demonstratie Goud en Zilver [151] : Contribution to the film ED Ceci n’est pas Bruxelles by Benoît Lamy, Brussels, Beurs/

Bourse, February 1984 (within the framework of a series called The cultural capitals of Europe). The various projects date from 1983 : Film : On top of the stairs of the Bourse in Brussels and right across its main entrance, a large horizontal rectangular sheet of glass is placed. Ph. Van Snick divides the plane in two through a vertical line. Next, in the left part he adds, using gold-colored spray paint, the letters Au (for Aurum / gold) and in the right part, using silver-colored spray paint, he adds the letters Ar (for Argentum / silver). Subsequently he spray-paints the entire left plane gold and the entire right plane silver. Finally he pushes the sheet of glass down the stairs, shattering it into golden and silver splinters. There are photographs of the process + various sketches [Archive Ph.V.S., Brussels]

[151]  Demonstratie Goud en Zilver, contribution to Ceci n’est pas Bruxelles, Bourse, Brussels, 1984

— Poster / silk-screen print in 100 copies (not numbered) for exhibition at the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent in 1984 : transposition of Fysical Room with Cijfercode. There are 10 copies per color.

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1985 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels.

R — Ilya Prigogine & Isabelle Stengers : Orde uit chaos. De nieuwe dialoog tussen de mens en de natuur, Amsterdam, Uitgeverij Bert Bakker, 1985. H / — Polychrome déstabilisé-re, 1985 : ten irregular polygons, T W each painted in one of the ten colors + one large vertical

rectangular canvas (220 cm × 140 cm) on which the ten connected polygons are drawn in graphite. — Plan et volume nuit et jour, 1985 : series of drawings in pale blue and black gouache + pencil on paper. These are studies for Dag en Nacht installations in space. — 2 fois Dix Jours / Dix Nuits [154], 1985 : three-dimensional work (cardboard + paint) realized at the occasion of the exhibition Occupations, Liege, Place Saint-Lambert, September 1985. The work consists of ten pairs of Jour / Nuit (cardboard boxes, 20 × (89 × 89 × 37 cm)). The sides of each pair of boxes are painted in one of the ten colors. Per pair of boxes each time there is one of which the front side is painted black and one of which the front is painted pale blue. — Dix Jours – Dix Nuits [152], 1985 : ten works, each consisting of two cardboard boxes, 20 × (30 × 22 × 13 cm). Per pair the sides of the boxes are painted in one of the ten colors. Per pair the front side of one box is painted pale blue and that of the other box is painted black.

[152]  Dix Jours / Dix Nuits, 1985

— Tien dagen / T   ien nachten, 1985, vinyl paint on canvas on cardboard, (20 × 24 × 18 cm). — (9-0) Der Mond La Lune The Moon La Luna (0-9), 1985 : recto verso printed moon map. On recto : collage of double number series, with the zero in the center of the moon, and the numbers counting up to the left and to the right, each time from 1 to 9. — Dag & Nacht, Maankaart [153], 1985 : recto verso printed moon map. The backside of the moon has a printed black background and the front side has a painted pale blue background. — Axiometrische voorstelling, 1985 : drawing with text (original in Dutch) to A. Dürer and his friends. Proposal for a presentation at the Museum Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent, whereby Synthese van Traditioneel L-vormige kamer of 1968-1969 and Window Suite of 1969 would be reconstructed. EX — Philippe Van Snick, Ghent, Richard Foncke Gallery,

26.4 – 19.5.1985. [155, 156] [153]  Dag & Nacht, Maankaart, 1985

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1985

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

Ph. Van Snick exhibits : large Polychrome déstabilisé-re. On the wall : drawing of a vertical rectangle divided into ten parts + the corresponding parts on canvas, painted in the ten colors, scattered across the four walls of the space. Also other works, including : Deur, 1983 (destroyed); Economie hoge frequentie [155], 1983 ; Economie [143, 155], 1984 ; Dag / Nacht, 1984, two cardboard boxes + two books ; Zonder titel (Giotto), 1984. — Place Saint-Lambert. Investigations, Liège, Espace 251 Nord in the underground space of Place Saint-Lambert, 18.9 – 5.11.1985. [154] Exhibition put together by Laurent Jacob and Johan Muyle. Participants : Edward Allington, Marc Angeli, Sandro Antal, Waldo Bien, Guillaume Bijl, Michel Boulanger, Bard Breivik, Jacques Charlier, Leo Copers, Richard Deacon, Luc Deleu, Yvan D’Hondt, Monika Droste, Michel François, Filip Francis, Paul Gees, Jef Geys, Jean Glibert, Sigurdur Gudmundsson, Ann Veronica Janssens, Klaus Jung, Babis Kandilaptis, Jacques Lizène, Bernd Lohaus, Mario Merz, Jacqueline Mesmaeker, Pieter Laurens Mol, Johan J.A.G. Muyle, Michel Moffarts, Luigi Ontani, Julian Opie, Panamarenko, Giulio Paolini, Ulf Rungenhagen, Patrick Saytour, Dan Van Severen, Philippe Van Snick, Jacques Vieille, Jean-Luc Vilmouth. Catalog.

[154]  2 fois Dix Jours  /  Dix Nuits, 1985. Installation view: Espace 251 Nord, Liege, 1985

Ph. Van Snick exhibits : 2 fois Dix Jours / Dix Nuits, (2 × Tien Dagen / Tien Nachten) [154], 1985. Installation in an bent hallway, with ten pairs Jour / Nuit on the left of the hallway and ten pairs Jour / Nuit on the right of the hallway, with each time, from left to right, the colors : red – yellow – blue – orange – green – violet – white – black – gold – silver, 20 × (89 × 89 × 37 cm).

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[155]  top: Economie, 1984  bottom: Economie hoge frequentie, 1983. Installation views: Richard Foncke Gallery, Ghent, 1985

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[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

1985

[156]  Installation views: Richard Foncke Gallery, Ghent, 1985

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179


1986 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels. Note by Ph.Van Snick :

The egg is open Manzoni gave it Marcel broke it Irreversible [Translated from Dutch, archive Ph.V.S., Brussels, c. 1986]

Another note :

With days and nights it is not their figuration that interests me. But the alternation of day & night—and of continuity —10 days 10 nights determine the infinity of the continuity. 0  9 is a closed system that I determined, dedicated  to the nature of things  making of a worldview. Through alternation understanding emerges ? hence different colors ? like—it goes on, then it stops ? (not eager to go to bed, not eager to get up) All days the same and different and also of nights. In the project of destabilization of monochromes There is the monochrome Day & night. The monochrome believed  to escape the time !? (sic) [Translated from Dutch and last three lines from French, archive Ph.V.S., Brussels, c. 1986] R In a sketchbook of 1985-1989, quotation written down c. 1986

[157]  Zonder titel, 1986

and taken from Histoire de l’œil of G. Bataille (a sunspot) : What remains before us is only an empty window, rectangular hole piercing the black night, one day opening to our tired eyes a world made through lightning and the crack of dawn. [Translated from French, archive Ph.V.S., Brussels]

Note in archive, c. 1986, from Georges Bataille : L’expérience intérieure : In the night, there is nothing but night. [Translated from French, archive Ph.V.S., Brussels] H / Note in archive : T W from 0 to 9

all the numbers so infinite possibilities mathematics : because mathematics well expresses the approach of the infinite

[Translated from Dutch, archive Ph.V.S., Brussels]

— Beuys – Broodthaers, 1986 [203, 295] : 12 oak frames, 12 × (40 × 30 cm), vinyl paint on cardboard, photocopies. Ph. Van Snick realizes this work in response to the death

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1986

of Joseph Beuys in January 1986, exactly ten years after the passing of Marcel Broodthaers in January 1976. It is an homage to both artists, whom he knew, met, and valued (for instance, in the context of the Wide White Space Gallery, Antwerp). In his view, both were active in the field of tension between art and not-art.

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

— Smalle doorgang, 1986 : group of eleven works, vinyl paint on paper, glued on cardboard, 11 × (28 × 38 cm). On all works, Dag (pale blue rectangle) is added in the lower left corner and Nacht (black rectangle) in the lower right corner. Each time thereby the distance between Dag and Nacht changes one mm (evolving from 25 mm in polychrome to 15 mm in silver). The remaining space in the ten works is monochrome (each of the ten colors) and in one work polychrome (the ten colors). — 2 1/2 1/2, 1986 : vinyl paint and Indian ink on cut-out cardboard, glued on paper, (27 × 36 cm). — Twee Kolommen Dag en Nacht Polychroom [158], 1986 : 2 × (120 × 60 × 60 cm), painted multiplex and glass. The outside of the columns is painted in the Dag and Nacht colors. The inside is painted polychrome. The two columns have a different random ten-part pattern, filled with the colors differently. The bottom of the columns is painted. The upper side is covered with a glass plate. [158]  Twee Kolommen Dag en Nacht Polychroom, 1986

— Twee Kolommen Dag en Nacht Polychroom met spiegel, 1986 : 2 × (120 × 60 × 60 cm), painted multiplex and glass + mirror. The outside of the columns is painted in the Dag and Nacht colors. The inside is painted polychrome. The two columns have the same random ten-part pattern, filled with the colors differently. The bottom of the columns is covered with a mirror. The upper side is covered with a glass plate. EX — Antwerpen – Brussel  Aller – Retour, Antwerp, Winkelgalerij

Torengebouw Schoenmarkt-Eiermarkt, 14.3 – 12.4.1986. Participants : Bernd Lohaus, Guy Mees, Rudi Rommens, Jef Somerlinck, Philippe Van Snick. [159] Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Beuys – Broodthaers, 1986. — I d’A. Initiatief d’Amis, Ghent, Vooruit, 21.6 – 7.9.1986. Group exhibition of 45 Belgian artists, organized at the initiative of Leo Copers, Wilfried Huet, and others, in response to the large-scale projects of Jan Hoet, Chambres d’Amis (various locations in Ghent), and Initiatief (Sint-Pietersabdij Ghent), whereby, as the organizers claim, few Belgian artists are being involved. Catalog. [159]  Invitation card, Winkelgalerij onder het Torengebouw, Antwerpen, 1986

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Ph. Van Snick realizes Dag // Nacht [160], work in situ, in a hallway on the second floor of the Vooruit. It consists of two large squares, 2 × (375 × 375 cm), one in pale blue and one in black, painted on the wall right across from each other + two wooden beam-shaped volumes painted pale blue and black, 2 × (120 × 60 × 60 cm)) covered with a glass plate, placed against the wall at the lower right side (black beam next to pale blue square, pale blue beam next to black square). — Zomer Menu, Antwerp, Montevideo, August – 19.10.1986. Participants : Michel Boulanger, Willem Cole, Leo Copers, Luc Grossen, Filip Francis, Robert Montoya, Philippe Van Snick. A / — Jour // Nuit 1986, publ. Yves Gevaert, Brussels, 1986. ED Edition consisting of two plates, 2 × (75 × 100 cm), silk-

screen print in two colors and pencil, ten copies, numbered from 0 to 9 + two exemplaires d’artistes. [161] — Tien Dagen  Tien Nachten [162, 241], uitg. Yves Gevaert, Brussels, October 1986. Book, after a design from late 1984. Ten copies, numbered from 0 to 9, in silk-screen print.

[160]  Dag // Nacht, 1986. Work in situ: Vooruit, Ghent, 1986

[162]  Tien Dagen   Tien Nachten, Yves Gevaert, 1986

[161]  Announcement card, Yves Gevaert, 1986

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[160]  Dag // Nacht, 1986. Work in situ: Vooruit, Ghent, 1986

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

1986

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1987 B — Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels.

— Start teaching assignment at the Hogeschool Sint-Lukas, Brussels, drawing studio (later : painting studio). G Galerie Montevideo (run by Annie Gentils), Antwerp,

1987-1988. R Late 1980s : — Michel Foucault : Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique, 1961. — In 1987 : Antonin Artaud, L’Ombilic des Limbes (et autres textes), Paris, Gallimard, 1987. TH / — Efemeriden [163], 1987 : twenty columns, 20 × (120 × 40 × W 40 cm), multiplex, acrylic and glass.

— 3650 dagen / 3650 nachten [168], 1987 : 2 stacks of each 3650 printed sheets of recycled paper, 2 × (58 × 42 × 57 cm), placed side by side on the floor. On the sheets of one stack a pale blue rectangle is printed, and the sheets of the other stack have a black rectangle on them. The size of the sheets is the same as that of the journal Ga. On this work Ph. Van Snick has said :

The sheets of paper are shaped identically yet they differ in content, partly because of the two stacks and partly because of the layeredness. Days follow each other ; they sit on top of each other and apparently have some identity. The content can be determined by he who experiences it. They all are either pale blue or black, but they will differ depending on the state of mind or psychological content one combines with it. Likewise, time interferes. In between the first sheet and the 3600th one there is progression in time, so also in perception and the experience of it. [Excerpt from interview in Dutch by Philippe Severeyns, Brussels, 22.12.1986, published in GA, tijdschrift van de akademie van Waasmunster, vol. 6, nr. 1, Jan. 1987]

— In 1987 Philippe Van Snick starts working on the Symmetrische en Asymmetrische Dag en Nacht reeks. First there is Asymmetrisch on paper (1987), next Asymmetrisch on canvas (1987), followed by Symmetrisch on paper (1988), and, finally, Symmetrisch on canvas (1988-1989). Asymmetrisch on canvas and Symmetrisch on canvas are combined in 1990. In 1991 there is a synthesis with the Laura series, whereby each time Asymmetrisch and Symmetrisch are united in a single work. [Interview with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 18.12.2009]

[163]  Efemeriden, 1987. Installation view: Montevideo Gallery, Antwerp, 1987

The Symmetrische en Asymmetrische Dag en Nacht reeks [166, 167] on canvas (1987-1989) exists in the ten colors.

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1987

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

In the Asymmetrische reeks, Dag and Nacht have a different size. Each time the size of each of the two colored canvases corresponds with one of the two sizes. In the Symmetrische reeks, Dag and Nacht have the same size (30 × 20 cm), the color is applied on two canvases of various sizes. The sizes of the canvases vary from one series to the next (except Dag and Nacht from the Symmetrische reeks). The presentation may also vary, the only constant being that each time Dag and Nacht from the Symmetrische reeks are hung in the center of the composition. — Produktie Staat [173], 1987. The work consists of 120 plasterboards of (60 × 60 cm). Each board is cast by Ph. Van Snick. It is important that the plaster is cast on a glass plate, and that the upper side is not touched after casting, which results in an organic surface structure. The placement : an expanding structure from a center that consists of four boards leaning against each other obliquely, which creates a closed square middle space. The next boards are arranged from the center, each time with their long side leaning perpendicularly against a short side of one of the boards, giving rise to a labyrinthine, partly open structure. The structure is developed irregularly, leaving openings here and there, and strengthening the sense of expansion. A total number of 90 boards is thus arranged. Next, ten boards are put horizontally on top of the structure, spread in random pattern across its surface. Finally, at the back end two wooden bases are painted in the Dag and Nacht colors, 2 × (50 × 60 × 60 cm), with on each a stack of ten horizontal plasterboards. In a non-published text, Ph. Van Snick writes :

“Production state”, from the fusing of 2 elements (duality) plaster powder + water  the plasterboards. The tendency to resolve dualities results in the emergence of production. Square ? : simple structure readily legible—construction element—Dynamic character of the square of which the sides serve as construction axes. This, then, is the only closed form in the work—the binding force. The central point of the intuitive force that is at the basis of producing. This only occurs at the upper side. At the underside the same structure is open. (The product carries duality in it, open and closed within the same construction). This production state is maintained up to one hundred boards, ten boards are put on top of the constellation in the order 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10 of 0  9, this to show the infinite expansiveness of the production state // the large waste in production in natural processes. together with the expansion there is the structuralness of it  itself / making room / between the others—the fragility of

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[164]  Model for Produktie Staat, 1987. Studio view, 1987

[165]  Asymmetrische reeks, 1987. Studio views, 1987

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[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

1987

[166]  Asymmetrische Dag en Nacht reeks (rood), 1987

[167]  Asymmetrische Dag en Nacht reeks (oranje), 1987

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it (both the arrangement and the material)—the emergence of hybrid forms in that growth. At the sculpture’s beginning or end there are the two day and night columns, each one with ten boards on it. Here the alternation of light and dark is the engine of the production—light permits us to see the production. The ten boards return the infinite character of this process. Beyond duality the neutral of producing. The grand illusion against the coercion of light and dark—day and night—the sun that is finite. (sic) [Translated from Dutch, archive Ph.V.S., Brussels] EX — Philippe Van Snick. Dag / Nacht, Waasmunster, GA, 24.1 –

15.2.1987. [168, 169] Ph. Van Snick exhibits : 3650 dagen / 3650 nachten [168], 1987 ; Smalle Doorgang, 1986 ; Dag & Nacht, Maankaart, 1985 : recto verso moon map, whereby the backside of the moon has a printed black background and the front side a painted pale blue background. During the exhibition, the map was turned, so that the Day side and the Night side were subsequently visible.

[168]  3650 dagen / 3650 nachten, 1987. Installation view: GA, Waasmunster, 1987

— Omtrent tekenkunst. Hedendaagse tekenvormen, Brussels, Sint-Lukasgalerij, 12.2 – 6.3.1987. Realization exhibition : André Blondeel, Bie Demeester, Filip Francis, Marie-Pascale Gildemyn. Participants : Dominique Ampe, Peter Beyls, Maria Blondeel, Michel Boulanger, Jacques Charlier, Luc Claus, Luc Coeckelberghs, Wouter Coolens, Leo Copers, Rudolf De Greef, Luc Deleu, Petrus De Man, Eric De Smet, Theresa De Smet, Danny Devos, Luc Dondeyne, Hugo Duchateau, Jan Fabre, Kris Fierens, Filip Francis, Michel François, Paul Gees, Ado Hamelryck, Image Building, Peter Jacquemyn, Jean-Paul Laenen, Ludwig Lemaire, Lut Lenoir, Eugeen Liebaut, Jacques Lizène, Bernd Lohaus, Marc Maet, Tjen Mylemans, Dirk Peers, Guy Rombouts, Paul Sarens, Pierre Sohie, Walter Swennen, Koen Theys, Narcisse Tordoir, Hans Vandekerckhove, Fik Van Gestel, Johan Van Roy, Philippe Van Snick, Bernard Villers, Marthe Wéry. Catalog. In the catalog, a text (in Dutch) by Ph. Van Snick, dated 14 January 1987 :

Drawing, namely putting lines with a specific meaning on paper. Is like writing in a very direct way, an ideogram with a clarity not to be substituted by text. The drawn image can be read globally in all directions of the plane. In contrast to words, which are read from left to right, mentally reconstructed, in a literary space. Drawing is immediate illusion. [169]  Dag & Nacht, Maankaart, 1985 / Smalle Doorgang, 1986. Installation views: GA, Waasmunster, 1987

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1987

— Belgica : Filip Francis, Philippe Van Snick, Rome, Galleria Jartrakor, 3 – 22.4.1987. [170] Exhibition in the context of Arte in Situazione – Belgica – Situatione dell’Arte, org. Espace 251 Nord / Production, Rome, various locations, April 1987.

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Dix Jours / Dix Nuits [170], 1986, 20 × (24 × 18 cm), acrylic on canvas on cardboard ; and Dix Jours / Dix Nuits, 1987, 20 × (40 × 30 cm), acrylic on canvas on cardboard. — Philippe Van Snick. “Efemeriden”, Antwerp, Montevideo Gallery, 30.4 – 30.5.1987 : Ph. Van Snick exhibits at the lower floor : Efemeriden [163], two series of 10 beam-shaped constructions in wood covered with a glass plate. The exterior of the one series is painted pale blue—Dag, that of the other black—Nacht. The inner parts of each pair are painted in one of the ten colors. Notes of Ph. Van Snick :

[170]  Dix Jours / Dix Nuits, 1986. Installation views: Galleria Jartrakor, Rome, 1987

“ephemerids” ephemera fleeting D N Development in fixed pattern of Day & Night the ephemeral of color in the movement in time in moving on, growing. The open and closed circuit of alternation and color. Man evolving in between as ephemeral element between Day & Night [Translated from Dutch (fourth line from French), archive Ph.V.S., Brussels]

At the upper floor : Twee Kolommen Dag en Nacht Polychroom [158], 1986, and Twee Kolommen Dag en Nacht Polychroom met spiegel, 1986. — Muur voor een schilderij. Vloer voor een sculptuur II. Iglesias Robbrecht Van Snick, Amsterdam, stichting De Appel, 9 – 24.5.1987. [172] Work in situ on two walls (a larger and smaller one) that form a corner : a rectangle, painted in mat black (420 × 390 cm) and a rectangle painted pale blue (420 × 70 cm). [172] Later on, Ph. Van Snick refers to this work (in : Wouter Davidts : Tussen schilderij en sculptuur. Over de noodzaak van de concrete ervaring in het werk van Philippe Van Snick, in catalog Philippe Van Snick. Territorium, Ghent, S.M.A.K., 9.12.2000 – 4.2.2001, p. 29) as follows :

I pursue a physical presence in my works. I try to apply

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the colors to a canvas in such way that under certain light conditions they start vibrating. That they can almost be experienced physically. I remember a work I put in place for the exhibition “Floor for a sculpture, Wall for a painting” by the architects Paul Robbrecht & Hilde Daem, in Galerie de Appel in Amsterdam. I had an L-shaped wall be painted in blue and black, and asked to have no additional lighting in the space during the exhibition. When at dusk of the opening night the daylight silently faded, at one point that wall really trembled. It was indescribable. You could feel the colors vibrate. [Tsranslated from Dutch]

— Pomme bleue. Mer verte. Jef Geys, Bernd Lohaus, Guy Mees, Philippe Van Snick, Lille (F), 17 Quai du Wault, 27.6 – 30.8.1987. [171] Organization exhibition : Ecole Régionale des Beaux-Arts Georges Pompidou – Dunkerque. Catalog. Ph. Van Snick realizes a work in situ : Passage Etroit – Jour Nuit (Smalle Doorgang – Dag Nacht) [171], 1987. Walking bridge in metal and wood (22,5 m L × 90 cm W). Two planes (Dag and Nacht) horizontally on the ground, 2 × (22.5 × 10.80 cm), latex (pale blue and black) on cotton. — Jacques Vieille. Philippe Van Snick, Antwerp, Galerie Montevideo, 12.12.1987 – 24.1.1988. A / — Premium at the occasion of the exhibition in Ga, ED Waasmunster, 100 copies, November 1987.

[171]  Passage Etroit – Jour Nuit (Smalle Doorgang – Dag Nacht), 1987. Installation views: 17 Quai du Wault, Lille, 1987

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[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

1987

[172]  Amsterdam I, 1987. Work in situ: Stichting De Appel, Amsterdam, 1987

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1988 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels. G Galerie Montevideo (run by Annie Gentils), Antwerp,

1987-1988. T H / In 1988-1989 Ph. Van Snick realizes a Symmetrische W Asymmetrische reeks op paneel, in each of the ten colors.

System : a wooden panel is sawed in two horizontally, so that the wood’s pattern continues. On the left panel : below left and right Dag and Nacht symmetrical + two colored planes of varied size, spread randomly across the plane (in a random composition). On the right panel : Dag and Nacht asymmetrically spread randomly across the plane + two colored planes of varied size, spread randomly across the plane (in a random composition). For each of the ten colors the compositions are different (except the placement of Dag and Nacht on the left panel). Symmetrische-Asymmetrische reeks op paneel (rood), 1988-1989, vinyl and acrylic on panel, (152 × 152 cm). Symmetrische-Asymmetrische reeks op paneel (geel), 1988-1989, vinyl and acrylic on panel, (152 × 152 cm). Symmetrische-Asymmetrische reeks op paneel (blauw), 1988-1989, vinyl and acrylic on panel, (152 × 152 cm). Symmetrische-Asymmetrische reeks op paneel (oranje), 1988-1989, vinyl and acrylic on panel, (152 × 152 cm). Symmetrische-Asymmetrische reeks op paneel (groen), 1988-1989, vinyl and acrylic on panel, (152 × 152 cm). Symmetrische-Asymmetrische reeks op paneel (violet), 1988-1989, vinyl and acrylic on panel, (152 × 152 cm). Symmetrische-Asymmetrische reeks op paneel (wit), 1988-1989, vinyl and acrylic on panel, (152 × 152 cm). Symmetrische-Asymmetrische reeks op paneel (zwart), 1988-1989, vinyl and acrylic on panel, (152 × 152 cm). Symmetrische-Asymmetrische reeks op paneel (goud) [178], 1988-1989, vinyl, acrylic, and gold leaf on panel, (152 × 152 cm). Symmetrische-Asymmetrische reeks op paneel (zilver) [178], 1988-1989, vinyl, acrylic, and silver leaf on panel, (152 × 152 cm). EX — Philippe Van Snick, Liege, Galerie L’A, 8 – 27.1.1988. [175, 176]

Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Asymmetrische reeks [176], in the (0-9) colors, on canvas, 1987. — De verzameling en een keuze van schenkingen en bruiklenen, Antwerp, MuHKA, 12.3 – 5.6.1988. Catalog. — Tielt Beelden Buiten 88, Tielt, Tuin De Brabandere, org. Cultureel Centrum Gildhof Tielt, 1.7 – 30.9.1988. [173]  Participants : Sybille Berke, Hilmar Boehle, Erik Colpaert,

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[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

1988

[173]  Produktie Staat, 1987. Installation view: Tuin De Brabandere, Tielt, 1988

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[174]  Symmetrische – Asymmetrische reeks op paneel, 1988-1989. Studio view, 1988

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1988

Ann Veronica Janssens, Gereon Lepper, Heike Pallanca, Wolfgang Robbe, Guy Rombouts, Patrick Van Caeckenbergh, Philippe Van Snick. Catalog. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Produktie Staat [173, 200], 1987, which is placed in a shed in the park. [B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

— Filip Francis – Philippe Van Snick, Brussels, Sint-Lukasgalerij, 13.10 – 10.11.1988 Tijdschrift van de Sint-Lukasgalerij, Brussels, nr. 2, October 1988. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Symmetrische en Asymmetrische Dag en Nacht reeks on graph paper, 1987-1988, (72 cm × 100 cm). — Philippe Van Snick. Een reeks van tien nieuwe werken. Une suite de dix oeuvres nouvelles, Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts / Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, 26.11 – 30.12.1988. [177] There is a parallel exhibition of Claes Oldenburg. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Symmetrische-Asymmetrische reeks op paneel, 1988-1989, in the (0-9) colors. Ten paintings on panel. [175]  Invitation card, Galerie L’A, Liege, 1988

On the occasion of the exhibition, a poster is printed : (0-9) a. Symmetrische reeks / b. Asymmetrische reeks, 1988. A / — Page d’artiste, in journal + – 0 (Plus-Moins-Zéro), led by ED Stéphane and Wivine Rona, nr. 50, Brussels, 1988.

[176]  Installation view: Galerie L’A, Liege, 1988

[177]  Invitation card, Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, Brussels, 1988

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[178]  Symmetrische – Asymmetrische reeks op paneel, 1988-1989. Installation views: Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, Brussels, 1988

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[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

1988

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1989 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels. TH / — Cilinders / Dag-Nacht [179], 1989 : group of 5 cylinders from W transparent glass. On two cylinders a square from painted paper is glued : one black (cylinder : 24 cm H / 19 cm diameter ; paper : 17.4 × 21.5 cm ) with initials VS 89 in graphite, and one blue (cylinder : 30 cm H /13 cm diameter ; paper : 17.5 × 18 cm). The three other cylinders (13 cm H /13 cm diameter ; 13 cm H / 15.5 cm diameter ; 20.5 cm H / 14 cm diameter) are unworked.

— La Promenade I, summer 1989, (203 × 73.5 cm), pencil and vinyl paint on paper. — La Promenade II, summer 1989, (203 × 73.5 cm), pencil and vinyl paint on paper. — La Promenade III, summer 1989, (203 × 73.5 cm), pencil and vinyl paint on paper. — La Promenade IV, summer 1989, (203 × 73.5 cm), pencil and vinyl paint on paper.

[179]  Cilinders / Dag–Nacht, 1989

EX — Philippe Van Snick, Haarlem, Galerie Tanya Rumpff, 18.3 –

16.4.1989. [181] Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Asymmetrische Dag en Nacht reeks / blauw, 1987 ; Asymmetrische Dag en Nacht reeks (oranje) [167], 1987 ; Asymmetrische Dag en Nacht reeks (groen), 1987 ; Asymmetrische reeks Dag en Nacht (zilver), 1987 ; 10 dagen – 10 nachten, vinyl on cardboard on canvas, 20 × (50 × 40 cm) ; 10 dagen – 10 nachten, vinyl on cardboard on canvas, 20 × (35 × 25 cm) ; 10 dagen – 10 nachten, vinyl on cardboard on canvas, 20 × (20 × 15 cm). — Gerard Polhuis + Philippe Van Snick, ’s Hertogenbosch, Art Is, 17.9 – 8.10.1989. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Symmetrische en Asymmetrische reeks op paneel, 1988-1989. A / — Enluminures [180], 1989, a book in six copies, painted by ED Ph. Van Snick, vinyl on Japanese paper (54.5 × 42 cm),

publ. Yves Gevaert, Brussels.

[180]  Spreads from Enluminures, 1989

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[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

1989

[181]  Asymmetrische Dag en Nacht reeks (blauw), 1987 / Asymmetrische Dag en Nacht reeks (oranje), 1987 / Asymmetrische Dag en Nacht reeks, 1987 (groen) / 10 dagen – 10 nachten, 1984 Installation views: Galerie Tanya Rumpff, Haarlem, 1989

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[182]  D & N, 1985


[183]â&#x20AC;&#x192; Ten perforations on slide, 1973


1. Marcel Duchamp, Duchamp du signe. Ecrits, Paris : Flammarion, 1975 : 48.

The Order of 10

Hans M. de Wolf

Under the Sign of the Oeuvre In 1934, the then quasi-unknown Marcel Duchamp self-published a first series of 93 notes in facsimile, gathered in a green box and disseminated in an edition of 300 copies. These notes were a first selection of Duchamp’s written counterpart of his artwork The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Nine Bachelors, Even, better known as The Large Glass (which at that time no one in Europe had yet seen). The notes include a number of recipes of which I would like to quote one : “Take a Larousse dictionary and copy all the words called ‘abstract’, meaning that they do not have a concrete reference. Compose a schematic sign that designates each one of the words (it is possible to make this sign with the help of standard stoppages). These signs must be considered as letters of the new alphabet.”1 This brief and very precise recipe, in which Duchamp aims for a destabilization of the order of the dictionary, seems to preserve the echo of a specific artistic attitude, one that in fact coincides with how the oeuvre of Philippe Van Snick operates. It is a recipe jotted down on a scrap of paper, which, rather than being binding, outlines a possible path—very concrete and pointed—of which the artist hopes, for his own sake, that it will lead to as of yet unexplored regions of artistic experience. The transparency of Duchamp’s recipes is striking : first do this, then take that … thereby use, if it proves useful, the famous 3 Standard Stoppages etc. All this is meant to ensure that one detaches oneself most efficiently from the burden of two millennia of art history, without thereby even feeling a need to revolt or perform a political act. This specific attitude, fueled by ambition and determination, is also characteristic of the artistic project of Philippe Van Snick. It wholly fits in a tradition whereby the artist has become, much more than the creator of artworks, the guardian and aide of an oeuvre, to which his entire existence is devoted. The oeuvre as one and indivisible, the commitment of an artist who rather conceives of the artwork as a potentiality, an attempt at anchoring specific coordinates, vertexes, or apexes of the oeuvre and to infuse it with temporary meanings. Only within the whole the artwork can operate as a sign toward the whole, the ‘sign’ that, incidentally, is at the root of the word ‘signification’ without for that reason having to take on the burden of significations permanently. The concept of oeuvre as the ultimate finality of the artist’s commitment, but no less as an essentially self-regulating body, constitutes a first major element in the connection between Van Snick and Duchamp that evolved early on and over many years. I foreground this oeuvre-orientedness with Van Snick because it reveals a strong dialectical tension between two different tra-

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2. The readymades by Marcel Duchamp, which first showed up around 1911-1912, led a slumbering life until around the mid-1950s and particularly the 1960s, when they grew very popular in artistic avantgarde circles, which mainly viewed them as objects with a high iconoclast potential. By definition it involves objects chosen by the artist (rather than created) without this choice being influenced in any way by aesthetic judgment. Duchamp refers to them as rendezvous. See also : Duchamp 1975 : 49. 3. The literature on Duchamp abounds with theoretical models whereby the readymades play a central role. But each time authors seem to have ignored that the emergence of readymades as a category within the oeuvre of Duchamp is inextricably bound up with The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Nine Bachelors, Even, or The Large Glass, which is in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 4. Philippe Van Snick first came into touch with the writings of Duchamp via the transcriptions of Richard Hamilton, available by the mid-1950s already. In 1958 Michel Sanouillet published the three first selections of notes in paperback under the title Marchand du sel. Another major moment in the reception history of Duchamp is the publication of the first substantial monograph by Robert Lebel in 1959. – Richard Hamilton, The bride stripped bare by her bachelors, even ; a typographic version by Richard Hamilton of Marcel Duchamps’s Green box, transl. by George Heard Hamilton. New York : G. Wittenborn, 1960. – Michel Sanouillet, March-

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ditions in how from the 1960s onward the heritage of Duchamp has been addressed. Countless young artists, it seemed, intuitively felt that Duchamp had managed to modify the rules of the game irrevocably, which made it possible to add a new set of options to the notion of the avant-garde. Undoubtedly, in this respect the most emblematic and successful eyeopeners were the readymades.2 The urinal, the bicycle wheel, the bottle dryer—they were admired as objects of resistance and irony. Frequently the nature of the selection that elevated them to realm of artworks seemed randomly repeated, without thereby searching for the deeper connection between Duchamp’s oeuvre and his famous objects, which philosophers and psychoanalysts also used now for the covers of their publications, as if to underscore their sudden popularity. Philippe Van Snick, however, belonged to a very small group of artists, evolving individually, who also understood that Duchamp’s readymades merely served as dice in a much more intricate game, which the master would put together during his lifetime with utmost concentration and sense of strategy.3 They were fascinated not so much by the stumbling block-effect that would guarantee the readymades a long-lasting level of indigestibility and therefore currency, but by the incredible size and ambition of Duchamp’s global project. Its contours began to be perceivable vaguely for those such as Philippe Van Snick, only after they had attentively read the Duchamp monograph by Lebel and began to roam around in the labyrinth of notes, widely available in several pocket editions for the first time.4 Essentially, the oeuvre of Philippe Van Snick cannot be grasped without this dam breach, which enabled a radically different understanding of the notion of artist as someone completely engaged in a one-time and all-encompassing project, focused on the careful design of new artistic criteria. These had become necessary because by definition the development of an oeuvre encompasses the discovery of untrodden creative territory at the same time. This is a suitable moment to point to the high level of oeuvre-bound, oeuvre-related integrity, which characterizes Philippe Van Snick as an artist. It was in the setting of the gallery of Anny De Decker and Bernd Lohaus that he first got in touch with several prominent artists who would guide the direction of the avant-gardes of the 1960s and 1970s.5 It is there that he grew acquainted with the thorny legacy marked by the initials M.D. More than four decades later, I feel, none of the rising artists of the time in Antwerp had managed to digest the art of Duchamp. Daniel Buren, after admiring Duchamp in his youth, eventually, and not without hostility, would turn himself against the master’s irksome irony. Marcel Broodthaers did not seem to have committed himself in this respect, although we do know that Joseph Beuys felt that Duchamp’s taciturnity was overrated.6 If all this for the young Van Snick must have been a highly interesting intellectual field of tension, we have no reason


and du sel, Paris : Le Terrain Vague, 1958. – Robert Lebel, Marcel Duchamp, New York : Grove Press, 1959. 5. At the very beginning of his career, Philippe Van Snick was one of the artists that exhibited work in the Wide White Space gallery in Antwerp run by Anny De Decker and Bernd Lohaus. 6. With respect to the attitude of Buren regarding Duchamp, see : Daniel Buren, Au sujet de, Entretien avec Jérôme Sans, Paris : Flammarion, 1998. Das Schweigen von Marcel Duchamp ist überbewertet is the title of a performance by Joseph Beuys at the invitation of ZDF German television in 1964. 7. As figurehead of a new sort of art that emerged from a vision that was strongly linked up with American realities, Donald Judd showed himself a fervent critic of European cultural models of thought and an advocate of the tabula rasa as starting-point for a new generation of American artists. 8. Duchamp 1975 : 248. 9. The theory of numbers of Marcel Duchamp starts from the basic unit three and its multiples : 1 represents the individual, 2 duality, and 3 all that comes after. The originality of Philippe Van Snick’s theory of numbers rests in that he added to the oft-occurring number 9 in the oeuvre of Duchamp a tenth number (namely 0), as a result of which he includes the Duchampian startingpoint in a decimal system.

to assume that he wanted to copy the approach of his somewhat older colleagues in the Wide White Space merely for the sake of developing his own oeuvre, on the contrary. Is it because Philippe Van Snick assimilated and understood the exemplary function of the internal logic in Duchamp’s oeuvre in much greater detail than others which explains that he never saw the need or sense of such a revolt against the man who from his perspective of beginning artist had opened up new horizons ? And could it be that precisely because he gradually integrated into his oeuvre, step by step, the kind of inherent, Duchampian logic, it was impossible to believe in the legitimacy of the sledgehammer as argument ? That it was impossible to believe in the legitimacy of the tabula rasa selected as starting-point, albeit ad hoc and at random, by the avantgardes in the wake of Donald Judd, as a way to bring about a development toward a purely crystallized conceptual art ?7 To be sure, an artist who chooses randomly determined series and repetitions of constellations, evolutions and accumulations, polygons and confrontations, as vehicles for the construction of his oeuvre leaves little room for leveling cultural-political arguments. The oeuvre rather embodies a wind of freedom that is as real as it is hard to describe, and that perhaps we may best see through in a reaction of Duchamp aimed at the hard, politically dominated branch of Dadaism in Berlin. As he put it : “Dada-literary, purely negative and accusatory, it was a matter of giving more of what we were determined to ignore. An example if you like : with the stoppage-standard, I wanted to give a different idea of the unit of length. I could have taken one meter of wood and break it at no matter what point : that would have been Dada.”8 To provide a new idea of the meter as unit, but also : of the function of words, of the projection of the language in our mind, of the absent surface of a polygon in a broken window in Schaerbeek mostly understood as chance, of the length of a sentence, of the sequence of a series of references … As well as to provide another idea of the mutual relationships among eight colors and of the role of silver and gold. Of those moments in which the laboriously worked forms of order that open again on their own, enabling the birth of a new constellation, not with 9 pushpins as with Duchamp, but 10, or better still, 9 + 0, equal to 10.9 A New Alphabet Of course it is not possible here to subject the oeuvre of Philippe Van Snick to a systematic investigation of possible points of reference that might refer to Duchamp. This would not only suggest misguided intentions, but also a limited research practice. The real and deep affinity between Philippe Van Snick and Marcel Duchamp rather lies in the fact that the painter of The

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10. A note from an interview with Philippe Van Snick. 11. The 9 shots (9 tirés) form a major instrument added to the reality of the bride in Duchamp’s Large Glass. It consists of 9 holes drilled through the glass, found in the Large Glass’s upper right corner. 12. Such reference to the fourth dimension via touch is found in one of the notes of the white box (1967). Duchamp calls the effect l’image tactileemprise. Duchamp 1975 : 132.

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Large Glass put his next-generation colleague on the track of the possibility of an oeuvre, as if involving the development of a new alphabet. Over the years, Van Snick has carefully gathered all elements of this new alphabet and tested quite some possible combinations. From his iron wire connections from 0 to 9 [57, pp. 90-91], to the ‘vapor trails’ left behind by longforgotten airplanes in the blue sky of the 1970s, recorded by Van Snick on photographs [45, p. 78]. From the chance constellations of bird swarms that as signs in the sky acquired meaning to Van Snick [16, pp. 38-39] to the quoted yet as quickly erased sign that could have been by the hand of Hanne Darboven, but which with Van Snick forms the sum total of everything between 0 and infiniteness, in other words : the sum total of the oeuvre. Here we hit again on Duchamp’s odd recipe. The thought to express the abstract concepts in the lists of words as signs in a new, auto-referential form takes away nothing, of course, from the traditional definition of the dictionary, but it does situate that same dictionary in a wholly new context. This context reminds us that where the sum total of the concrete meanings added to a word in the Larousse dictionary stops, another, wondrous world takes off. In this world, it is possible to express higher concepts, such as the clay stone with nine perforations [222, p. 245], to which Van Snick adds that the spectator should enclose it in the palm of his hand, thus hiding the stone from view again.10 Surely, those familiar with Duchamp’s notes will immediately think of The Large Glass, where the nine bullet holes in the zone of the bride look like nine perforations in the glass plate.11 However, direct contact with the spectator’s palm of the hand—grabbing surface in which a clay stone belongs, the direct mirror of the soul—puts us on another track. In my approach of this work, we reach a speculative 4th dimension, which in the early 1910s already preoccupied Duchamp, but which also has clearly appealed to Philippe Van Snick. In a very simple translation : an object finds itself in a four-dimensional projection when we can perceive it simultaneously from all possible directions. Within the restrictions of our three-dimensional reality, such object is only conceivable at a theoretical level. Except when we transfer the experience from visual perception to our sense of touch, for without any effort our hand succeeds in fully enclosing the clay stone. When closing the hand, the fourth dimension becomes operative.12 Various spectators have held that perforated stone in their hand, as I did, without realizing all this, and without seeing the stone at that moment. Here, then, a kind of book becomes operative : a book of images whereby on the basis of the experience of the hand a sign (instead of a meaning) can be added and communicated, the depth of which is hard to fathom. A sign that is composed of nine penetrations ; or, put more correctly : 9 + 0. It seems to me that, having arrived at this level of insight, one best opens the hand again, without wasting too many words, and to pass on the stone of Philippe Van Snick to an unsuspecting hand.


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[237]â&#x20AC;&#x192; Eclats, cover, 1984

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1. Ulises Carrión, ‘The New Art of Making Books’, in : Joan Lyons (Ed.), Artists’ books : A Critical Anthology and Sourcebook, New York : Peregrine Smith, 1985 : 42. 2. Wouter Davidts, ‘Between Painting and Sculpture. On the Necessity of the Concrete Experience in the Work of Philippe Van Snick. Interview with Philippe Van Snick’, in : Eva Wittocx (Ed.), Trattenendosi, exh. cat., Ghent : SMAK, 1999, 123-124. 3. According to most writers on the topic, the two fundamental criteria for an artist’s book are that it has to be an original work of art where the artist has complete control over the production process, and, secondly, that this work self-consciously interrogates its “conceptual or material form” as part of “its intention, thematic interests, or production activities.” Johanna Drucker, The Century of Artist’s books, New York : Granary Books, 2004 : 3. In her essay ‘Qu’est ce qu’un livre d’artiste ?’ Anne Moeglin-Delcroix mentions the interdependence between structure and content as one of the main features of an artist’s book. Anne MoeglinDelcroix, Sur le livre d’artiste, Marseille : Le mot et le reste, 2006 : 87. 4. Conversation in the artist’s studio, Schaerbeek, 8 June 2009. 5. Carrión 1985 : 32. 6. Drucker 2004 : 3. 7. Carrión 1985 : 36.

The Book as Object and Idea

Alexander Streitberger

“Tout au monde existe pour aboutir à un livre” Stéphane Mallarmé “In order to read the new art one must apprehend the book as a structure, identifying its elements and understanding their function” Ulises Carrión1 It might seem surprising to write about books in the work of Philippe Van Snick. He has said after all that his work is fundamentally anchored in “concrete experience” and that “the main issue of [his] work has always been to introduce the physical into painting.”2 In contrast, we commonly conceive of a book— a collection of sheets of paper held together by two covers—as dealing with imagination and concepts rather than with physical experience. What is more, books appear to play a very marginal role in Van Snick’s oeuvre. If we count the books he produced during his artistic career, the job is done quite quickly. Less than a handful of works—including the here discussed Éclats (1984) and Tien dagen, tien nachten (1986)—fit into the category of the autonomous book, or, to be more precise, the so-called artist’s book.3 In light of this meager yield, my intention cannot be to place Van Snick’s bookwork within the genre of the artist’s book. The aim is rather to consider the book as a way of thinking, as a conceptual and sensual premise of Van Snick’s oeuvre. In this regard, the artist’s own words are telling. In a conversation I had with him,4 he associated the book with terms such as ‘division’, ‘symmetry’, ‘progression’ and ‘rhythm’, or, in other words, with a formal and structural whole in which the categories of space and time are intertwined to constitute what Ulises Carrión defined as ‘a space-time sequence.’5 To make his point, Van Snick told me the following anecdote : while looking outside from a riding tram, the specific rhythm of the succession of images unrolling before his eyes reminded him of the structure of a book. The images framed by the window thereby evoke the book’s consecutive pages, while the constantly changing outside world represents the narrative contained in the book. Seen in this light, the book is directly related to concrete experience and physical space. In other words, Van Snick’s main interest lies not so much in the production of artist’s books as autonomous objects with a “self-conscious character.”6 For him, the book is a way of living, a way of experiencing the world. In this respect, it is hardly amazing that a closer look at Van Snick’s work reveals multifarious and fascinating perspectives on the book as “subject to concrete conditions of perception, existence, exchange, consumption, use, etc.”7 Both as

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8. In the literature there is some terminological confusion between artist’s book, livre d’artiste, livre de peintre and livre illustré (illustrated book). Thus Drucker’s definition of livre d’artiste as a book consisting of a combination of a painter’s work (engraving, lithography, drawing, etc.) with a poet’s text, generally on facing pages, is problematic because in the French tradition livre d’artiste is the word for artist’s book. This is why I prefer to use, as counterpart of artist’s book, the term livre de peintre, which in French is used for what Drucker refers to as livre d’artiste. See Drucker 2004 : 3-5 ; Moeglin-Delcroix2006 : 32 ; Renée Riese Hubert & Judd D. Hubert, The Cutting Edge of Reading : Artist’s Books, New York : Granary, 1999 : 11-12. 9. Lievens, Somerlinck, Van Snick, Harelbeke : Kultuurhuis Harelbeke, 1971. 10. Since 1968 Seth Siegelaub organized various exhibitions that had no existence outside the catalogue, e. g. Douglas Huebler’s catalogueexhibition November 1968 or the well-known Xerox Book in December 1968. See also Anne Moeglin-Delcroix’s insightful essay ‘Du catalogue comme oeuvre d’art et inversement’, in : MoeglinDelcroix 2006 : 189-222.

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object and as idea, the book is omnipresent in his work—in his installations, his works for journals, his recent film and, of course, in the form of the livre de peintre and the artist’s book. The Tradition of the Livre de peintre Van Snick’s first experience with the expressive potential of the book as an art form goes back to 1968, when he was a student at the Royal Academy Ghent. His Ascensional Sutra consists of 12 engravings which are accompanied by the same number of dada-like visual poems composed by Paul-Armen Sarafian [238, p. 261]. Inspired by the huge sculptures placed in the park of the Musée national Fernand Léger in Biot, Van Snick’s engravings are variations on the theme of ‘head in landscape’. Evolving from basic, elementary forms to more and more complex compositions, this series capitalizes on the idea of progression, which the artist, as indicated, considers a main characteristic of the book in general. As an object, the book fits perfectly into the tradition of the Livre de peintre of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.8 Produced with a fine art printing technique as a limited, signed edition of fifteen copies, Ascensional Sutra contrasts engravings and poems with each other. As such the book is rather a collection of single artworks than a self-contained object, which is underscored by its loose-leaf character that allows one to frame the single sheets and hang them on a wall. Flying Wheels : from Performance to Perception Only three years later Van Snick participated in another collaborative book project, one that marks a radical turning point in his work. In 1971 the Kultuurhuis Harelbeke published a book with works by Etienne Lievens, Jef Somerlinck and Philippe Van Snick.9 Printed in the form of a leporello, the book contains nothing but four full-page photo-reproductions by each artist [239, p. 261]. The book omits any form of textual information ; even the titles of the works are missing. Actually, the book was not meant to be a catalogue of an exhibition but the exhibition itself. One copy unfolded and fixed on a wall, the others arranged in a pile, the leporello replaced the artifacts of the exhibition, or, more precisely, constituted the exhibition’s only object as well as its catalogue. In declaring the catalogue an art object, the leporello inscribes itself within the tradition of post-late 1960s conceptual art.10 The central concern of the book is space. Political and social space is represented in Lievens’ photographs, which depict three different supermarket turnstiles as threshold between in and out, access and obstruction. Somerlinck’s cone-shaped volumes placed in different environments are concerned with architectural and sculptural space in relation to perspective. At first glance, Van

The Book as Object and Idea


11. Robert Morris, ‘Notes on Sculpture Part II’, in : Charles Harrison & Paul Wood (Eds.), Art in Theory. 1900-2000. An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Malden, Oxford, Carlton : Blackwell, 2003 : 832. 12. Philippe Van Snick, Eclats (1979), Ghent : Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, 1984. 13. Drucker 2004 : 4.

Snick’s image sequence is about dynamic, performative space, because it seems to document the act of throwing a wheel down a hill. In the post-Second World War avant-garde, the car wheel was not only a symbol of modernity, but also a means to represent dynamic, unfolding space. Thus Allan Kaprow, in Yard (1961), randomly heaped wheels in a backyard in order to make the viewer climb in and around, or Robert Rauschenberg created Automobile Tire Print (1953) as a 23-foot-long automobile tire track imprinted on paper by a car driven by John Cage. No doubt that Van Snick alludes to this kind of process-related, performative space, though he doesn’t conceive a linear time-space as in the case of Rauschenberg. A closer look at the four photographs reveals that the sequence is divided in two, each consisting of two pictures, one showing a man throwing the wheel, the other depicting the wheel suspended in the air. Furthermore, the wheels are not identical : two of them have no rim. From this it follows that the idea of progressive and dynamic space is not the primary concern of the work. The photographs of the wheel sequence, which show the circle of the wheel in various elliptical forms, demonstrate that in our perception the form and shape of an object shifts permanently according to its position in space. In this regard, Van Snick’s position is close to the phenomenological approach of such minimalist artists as Robert Morris, who wrote in Notes on Sculpture that “the very conditions under which certain kinds of objects are seen” must be taken into account.11 As a kind of conceptual counterpart of the wheel photographs, the contemporaneous series of schematic drawings investigate systematically the formal and perceptual aspects of the ellipse [27 / 28, pp. 50-55]. The “Specific Potential of the Book” (Jan Hoet) The publication’s form as a constitutive element of the work and the interplay of cognitive, perceptual and formal features are also two salient aspects of Eclats, Van Snick’s first real artist’s book from 1984.12 Published on the occasion of his 1984 solo exhibition at the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst in Ghent, Eclats is Van Snick’s first artist’s book in terms of a highly original and self-reflecting art work. It consists of 10 pages, each presenting a single black shape placed in such a manner that the assembled ‘éclats’ would constitute a monochrome black page [240, p. 261]. On account of the paper’s partial transparency, the shapes of the following two pages appear, gradually attenuated, thus revealing to the reader-beholder the book’s puzzle concept. If we agree with Johanna Drucker that artist’s books are “almost always selfconscious about the structure and meaning of the book as a form,”13 Eclats is a perfect example. No wonder, then, Jan Hoet, in his preface, highlights the artistic autonomy of the book. According to him, Eclats does not document

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14. Jan Hoet, ‘Woord vooraf’, in : Philippe Van Snick, Eclats (1979), Ghent : Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, 1984 : n.p. 15. Kim Paice, ‘Marks of sympathy’, in : Hilde Van Gelder & Wouter Davidts (Eds.), Philippe Van Snick. Undisclosed Recipients, exh. cat., Mechelen – Strombeek : bkSM, 2006 : 95-96. 16. Davidts 1999 : 124.

the exhibition but accompanies and completes it. As such it allows Van Snick to apply his work to the “specific potential of the book.”14 This mental exercise of re-construction can easily be associated with memory work, if we understand the gradual vanishing effect of the shapes shimmering through the pages as a metaphor for vanishing memories. In this respect, it is interesting to take into account the book’s cover and the wordlist that precedes the black shapes. To begin with the latter, a list of ten colors, one below the other, is found in the middle of the page. On the one hand, this list invites the reader-beholder to tint the ten black shapes in his imagination with the indicated colors—red, yellow, blue, orange, purple, green, black, white, gold, and silver. On the other hand, the color list places the book within Van Snick’s artistic development in this period as a painter. From 1979, the artist began to develop “a persistent and somewhat structuralist approach of painting that involved systematically limiting his palette to 10 colors […] This group of 10 colors continues to be the basic units of variables, which he deploys in game-like strategies in his painting.”15 Ultimately, the cover photo [237, p. 256] serves as a counterpart to this formalistic exercise. Showing the broken window of a once glorious yet now decrepit bourgeois palace, it opens up the semantic field of the title and it anchors the formal play of shapes and colors in a concrete experience of the everyday environment. The fragment of glass (éclat de verre) becomes the starting point of a formal experience in order to attain aesthetical brilliance (éclat de soleil), but without missing a certain irony (éclat de rire) while doing the splits between everyday life and formalistic exercise. Reflections on Color Only two years after Éclats Philippe Van Snick realizes the book Tien Dagen  Tien nachten (Ten Days  Ten nights, 1986) [162, p. 182]. Entirely color silk-screened on Japanese folding paper, the edition has been limited to 10 copies monogrammed and numbered 0 to 9 by the artist. As of 1984, the Day/Night theme, suggested by the colors pale blue and black, has been a crucial element in Van Snick’s work. In an interview the artist states : “Because pale blue and black evoke day and night for me, because they stand for the continuous alternation between light and dark that affects our whole planet, a condition that determines all our lives.”16 Based on a series the artist created in 1985, the book is a combination of the Day/Night theme with the ten colors of the decimal system. Each of the ten double pages shows respectively a monochrome blue rectangle on the left and a black one on the right, both framed by one of the ten colors [241, p. 262]. In some respects, this kind of geometrical abstraction reminds Josef Albers’s practical and theoretical investigations on color relationships and

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[238]  Ascentional Sutra, 1968

[239]  Lievens, Somerlinck, Van Snick, leporello, 1971

[240]  Eclats, spread, 1984

Alexander Streitberger

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[241]  Tien Dagen  Tien Nachten, spreads, 1986

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17. Josef Albers, Interaction of color, Revised and Expended Edition, Yale University Press, 2006 : xv. 18. Albers 2006 : xvi. 19. Walter Klepac, ‘Painting as Means : The Critical Inquiries of Philippe Van Snick’, in : Philippe Van Snick, Toronto Asymmetric Orange, exh. cat., Toronto : Art Gallery of York University – Ghent : Yves Gevaert, 2000 : 12. 20. Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, What is Philosophy ?, transl. by Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell, New York : Columbia University Press, 1994 : 164.

human perception. Actually, the presentation of always the same two monochrome planes with changing background colors seems to sustain Albers’s considerations on the relativity of a color developed in his pedagogical treatise Interaction of color. The interdependence of color with form and placement entails that in “visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is—as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.”17 But Albers doesn’t reduce color to a matter of optics and physiology of visual perception. Elsewhere he states : “What counts here—first and last—is not so-called knowledge of so-called facts, but vision—seeing. Seeing here implies Schauen (as in Weltanschauung) and is coupled with fantasy, with imagination.”18 It seems that the German term Weltanschauung, which denotes a comprehensive set of opinions based on knowledge, experience, and emotion, describes precisely what is at stake in Van Snick’s investigation of color. Walter Klepac was right when he stated that “one of Van Snick’s most significant contributions has been to demonstrate in work after work the contingent nature of our experience of colour. By shifting critical attention to how colour is experienced, he enables us to more clearly understand that much of what we think about the phenomenon of colour is based largely on culturally inherited ideas about it, and on the memories and associations certain colours have for us personally.”19 The form of the book renders the above-described perfectly, because each double page offers only a fragment of the whole, the unity of which has to be reconstructed on the basis of memories and associations. Percept, Affect, Concept In both books described above cognitive, perceptual, and emotional resources are called into play in order to intermingle the aesthetic, the everyday, and the universal. In Éclats the chain of associations is set in motion by juxtaposing a broken window with geometric black colored splinter forms. In Tien dagen, tien nachten it is the combination of the Night/Day duality juxtaposed with the conceptual restrictions (and possibilities) of the decimal color system. It is in this context that we should consider Van Snick’s interest in Deleuze’s and Guattari’s definition of the work of art. In the chapter on ‘Percept, affect and concept’ of their What is Philosophy ?, the two philosophers argue that the nature of art is the preservation of “a bloc of sensations, that is to say, a compound of percepts and affects.”20 The work of art thus transforms the fugitive experiences of perceptions and affections in durable, pure states, the so-called percepts and affects. Titled exactly as the chapter on art in What is Philosophy ?, Van Snick’s film Percept, Affect et Concept (2008) [292, p. 332] provides a profound reflection on the relationship between Deleuze’s and Guattari’s considerations, the artist’s work, and the encounter of nature and culture in everyday life. In the

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21. Terence S. Turner, ‘The Social Skin’, in : Jeremy Cherfas & Roger Lewin (Eds.), Not Work Alone : A Cross-Cultural View of Activities Superfluous to Survival, Beverly Hills : Sage, 1980 : 112-140. 22. Davidts 1999 : 129.

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film’s sensitive balancing act between creation and documentation, philosophy and art, contingent experience of the everyday and systematic aesthetic investigation, the book plays a crucial role as a functional, conceptual and aesthetic device. The film consists of filmic and photographic images displaying urban and natural landscapes, as well as the artist’s studio and some of his installations, objects, and paintings. As iconographic elements of the film, the camera zooms in on two books. Thus the screening of some passages of What is philosophy ? allows the viewer to share the artist’s readings [292, p. 332]. Furthermore, some shots show pages with photographs from an anthropological study about the customs and habits of an African tribe. Explicitly related to Terence S. Turner’s concept of ‘The Social Skin,’21 several photos represent the ritual practice of scarification [292, p. 332]. The universe of the book, then, bridges the gap between the philosophical-aesthetical and the socio-anthropological, between artistic and social space. In addition, the film refers to some structural principles of the book as a form. The abrupt shift from film shot to still photographs and several rapid sequences of photographs are thus meant to evoke the act of turning over pages. Particularly two scenes may reveal the interlocking of structural, conceptual, and iconographic aspects related to the book, which are at play not only in the film but also in Van Snick’s work in general. Somewhere in the film the camera scans a significant passage from What is philosophy ?, which locates the origin of art in the house, thus deciding the paragone in favor of architecture. This shot is unexpectedly interrupted by a photograph showing an installation the artist realized in 1999 in Venice [235, p. 253]. It depicts two large opposite walls, one painted black and the other pale blue. Between them a stake is placed on a white base. As Van Snick explains in an interview, the stake “implies the possibility of hanging colored panels on it. Those panels are not present, but could have been. In that way, the work not only speaks of the duality between blue and black, but also creates links with my earlier work. As a presence that lurks in a possibility.”22 On the one hand, the opposite walls, with the white stake placed exactly in the middle, monumentalizes the symmetric structure of the book ; on the other, the concept of the catalogue is evoked by a fictional retrospective of the artist’s earlier paintings passing before the beholder’s inner eye. The concrete physical experience is thus confronted with the realm of imagination, fantasy, and memory. This interpretation becomes even more plausible when in the last shot of the film the pages of a real catalogue are rapidly turned back to come to rest on a double spread containing on each side a pale blue monochrome plain framed by a white border. The walls have become the pages of the book, the stake its fold.

The Book as Object and Idea


23. Deleuze & Guattari 1994 : 181. 24. Deleuze & Guattari 1994 : 186.

I would like to end with two quotations from What is Philosophy ?. Put in dialogue they might conflate the architectural space of the installation and monochrome painting, conceived by Deleuze and Guattari as mutually exclusive, in the idea of the book as a succession of intertwining planes (the pages), situated between two- and three-dimensional space. “It is true that the monochrome area of plain color is something other than a background. And when painting wants to start again at zero, by constructing the percept as a minimum before the void, or by bringing it closer to the maximum of the concept, it works with monochrome freed from any house or flesh.”23 “And, not going beyond form, the most scientific architecture endlessly produces and joins up planes and sections. That is why it can be defined by the ‘frame’, by an interlocking of differently oriented frames, which will be imposed on the other arts, from painting to the cinema.”  24

Alexander Streitberger

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[242]â&#x20AC;&#x192; Blauwe Kolom, Zwarte Kolom (fragment), 2007-2009. Installation view: M. M van Museum Leuven, 2010

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Literature Josef Albers, Interaction of Color, New Haven – London : Yale University Press, 1963. Jacques Derrida, La vérité en peinture, Paris : Flammarion, 1978. Paul Tanghe, Toeternitoe. Zin, onzin en waanzin van de hedendaagse beeldende kunst, Tielt : Lannoo, 2004. Paul Tanghe, ‘De vele betekenissen van kleur’, plaquette 11 at the exhibition De mystiek van kleur, Machelen-Zulte : Roger Raveelmuseum, 2006. Paul Tanghe, Toeterweltoe. Zin, onzin en waanzin van religie, Tielt : Lannoo, 2008.

The Contemplative Character Paul Tanghe of the Oeuvre

What is contemplation ? What does contemplation have to do with art ? Why do we have good reason to refer to the paintings of Philippe Van Snick as contemplative ? In this essay I will try to formulate answers to these three questions in a succinct manner. The word ‘contemplation’ is derived from the Latin verb contemplari. It refers to a practice of Roman diviners who in preparation of major events demarcated a space (templum) in which to search for divine signs. The practice of hunting for divine signs is found in many cultures. The Aztecs, for example, established their capital city in a desolate, marshy place (today’s Mexico City) because their priests had seen a holy sign there, namely a condor with a snake in its beak perched on a cactus. Templum does not only refer to a demarcated space ; it is also one that is arranged and purified into a void to be filled. The priests, full of anticipation, are watchful all the time, prepared to see (as seers) whenever the signs present themselves. This presumes a sustained attitude marked by great passivity achieved through prior, personal purification. Such purification does not only apply to washing the body, but also to cleansing the mind through disengagement and asceticism. This means : to let go, enlightenment, mortification (‘death of the self’), liberating oneself from pursuits and emotions to open up the way freely, lightly, and without any resistance, in order to be ready for and witness potential revelations. The priests empty themselves to allow for their captivation by what is going on in the mysterious depths of reality. It is no coincidence that the word ‘religion’ is derived from relegere : seeing reality in another, new way. Contemplation presupposes disengagement, but also great passivity. The German mystic Eckhart called this attitude Gelassenheit. Rather than to dejection and despondence (acedia), this concept refers to receptiveness and openness. A projection of concrete objectives or even the articulation of a conception of expectations has a deadly effect on this passivity. Moreover, the revelation of specific signs always comes with an element of surprise. They appear as a revealed miracle and are gratefully experienced as a gift filling the void with unspeakable meanings that differ from the ones anticipated. This passivity stands for waiting, a-wait-and-see approach, the practice of being on guard (‘to be aware’). It presupposes a mode of concentration that excludes nothing. Who waits attentively is not hurried, nor busy with fussing, chatting, worrying, playing games, or odds and ends. Rather than concentration on a specific point such as the centre of a circle, it is about singular attention, a permanently mindful way of looking in hopes of ever seeing something that reveals itself as a gift.

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At an underlying level the passivity needed is linked to a basic attitude of humility (humilitas), diffidence, meekness. In religious terms we speak of being God-fearing. It involves an attitude that incites us to kneeling, bowing our head for those things in the real world that are beyond us. As such it pertains to the reverse of arrogance, over-confidence (hybris), or any presumptuous attitude that starts from self-glorification and an inflated ego. This humility presupposes a candid, constructive, and affirmative attitude far removed from any exaggerated skepticism that only ignores and negates. It presumes a yielding to reality out of a childish naivety without prejudice. This humility is open to a reality that may mix up one’s current comfort. In the case of over-confidence the ego closes itself off from drastic, troublesome revelations. One is self-satisfied and prejudiced, and this gives rise to defense mechanisms to secure one’s familiar self-image and established views. We may situate the contemplative experience in between two extremes of passivity. Such experience starts from passivity, but also its possible culmination, ecstasy, is marked by passivity. If at first the subject may continue to function as guiding center, he is bound to lose himself in the experience of ecstasy. At that point he has fully lost control and is still merely guided by what is revealed—a state that may be accompanied by feelings of resignation, reverence, reconciliation, and acceptance, but also by intense feeling ranging from adoration and exaltation to desperation and severe pain. What, you may think, does this brief explanation of contemplation as a concept have to do with art ? The answer is straightforward : the structure of the contemplative process fully corresponds to the structure of the art experience as an in-depth experience of the sublime. Like in every experience, we pursue in the experience of art some sort of meaning or significance. In line with Wittgenstein we may distinguish between semantic and symbolic meanings. The experience of art is mainly relevant and meaningful through its symbolic dimension. Semantic meanings pertain to our perceptive, informative, and analytical way of dealing with reality. This category of experiences makes up the largest part of our daily life. They are called intentional, goaloriented ‘surface experiences’ that are expressed in a descriptive, informative, and easily translatable or replaceable language. Specific signs conventionally and externally force meanings upon us. In everyday life we know quite well that a red traffic light means : stop ! Even if instead of the red light there may be a triangular sign or simply the word ‘stop’. Symbolic meanings associated with our experience of art are found at an altogether different level : they are intrinsically incorporated in the shape of particular signs. The artwork serves as a unique vehicle of meaning. We tend to speak here of in-depth experience, the meaning of which is highly subjective and hard to put into words. In such experience a dimension of reality is revealed and disclosed that powerfully moves the subject. In this context, the process of

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seeing and being moved can be fully compared to the process of contemplation. The art experience as in-depth experience is a contemplative activity that comes with all features described above, such as the necessary receptiveness and the surprising character of possible revelations. In contrast to the semantic meaning of the red traffic light, the symbolism of a red painting may refer to blood or wine, to feelings of passion or eager desire. Combined with black, red makes me think of the passionate love in Le Rouge et le Noir by Stendhal (1830). Specific to the experience of painting, I will briefly touch on two issues that can be seen as problematic : the experience of time and the importance of the frame as templum. It took a long time (into the 1960s) to accept the timebound character of fine art as achievement, even if today this seems rather evident. Along the line of Gotthold Lessing (Laocoon, 1766), art theorists such as Clement Greenberg (Towards a Newer Laocoon, 1940) still argued that painting should be seen as a timeless, purely visual affair. The experience is immediate, like a wink of the eye, a split second, an optical flash. The time needed for the spectator to experience particular artworks he disdainfully called ‘theatrical’ : a single moment would have to suffice to grasp a painting in its total depth and fullness. After reading Wittgenstein, Merleau-Ponty, and artists-theorists such as Robert Morris, we meanwhile know that the temporal experience of a painting is a complex event bound by the subjectivity of the spectator’s ever changing living circumstances. At first there is a being touched by the sublime force of the artwork (as if a lightning bolt), which occurs unexpectedly, like a grace. If this revelation is immediate, it is followed by a time-bound vision that may take up quite some time to evolve. This time is needed not only to explore all facets of the art object, but also and in particular to undergo the evocative power of the sublime. When we are looking at a painting in a contemplative mode, it will separate itself from its context to enter the focal point of our gaze. It involves a strange form of concentration on the painting as templum. In the words of T.S. Eliot : a “concentration without elimination … distracted from distraction by distraction” (Four Quartets). This concentration would have to be geared to the essence (ergon), so that all inessentials such as the painting’s frame (parergon) escape our attention as much as possible. This does not prevent the ergon and parergon from being an unbreakable unity, however. The frame, the demarcation of the contemplative space (templum), is highly important. This does not only apply to the material frame, but also to the institutional framing by the art world. According to Jacques Derrida (Vérité en peinture, 1978), this framing actually constitutes the artwork. The art world will make sure that we experience a readymade no longer as a user object but as an artwork. Some artworks lend themselves optimally to contemplation and in-depth experience, in particular paintings that transgress the fragmentary and anecdotic.

Paul Tanghe

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We may speak here of essentialist works, purified to an essence. From this angle, paintings that exclusively rely on color are a privileged category, especially monochrome works. Combinations of colors, however, may also be regarded as a monochrome unity. For instance, it is possible to refer to the blue-white-red of the French flag as a triple monochrome. In my view the same applies to the color combinations of Philippe Van Snick. The symbolic dimension of colors is complex. It involves more than a strictly optical matter whereby our sensory experience becomes charged emotionally in some major way. Every color and combination of colors may elicit other feelings in the spectator. These feelings are culturally determined, but even more so very personal. In our culture, white represents life and black symbolizes death. In other cultures the reverse is the case. In his pioneering study on colors (Interaction of Color, 1963), Josef Albers has claimed that each experience of color is emotionally charged in a subjective way. Different persons will experience the same color as young or old, soft or hard, warm or cold. For example, I personally feel that deep blue fits my character better than grey. The experience of color in a painting can turn from the sensual with a decided emotional value into a profound contemplative experience (vision). This applies preeminently to monochrome painting, the genre to which Philippe Van Snickâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s painting belongs. I make a distinction between two extreme types of monochrome painting, in between which there are many levels and nuances of course. The first type is that of Kasimir Malevich and Mark Rothko, and the second type is represented by such painters as Piet Mondrian and Josef Albers. Philippe Van Snick, in my view, belongs to the second type. Although these types may both deepen into a contemplative experience, they move the spectator differently. For Mark Rothko, color is an expression of an inner light. His colors refer to an inner event, as is true of the colors of Russian icons and of Malevich. They are expressive because they are saturated, suggestive of an inner light and radiating great intensity. The contours of the color planes, then, are not sharply delineated but shimmer, as if wanting to escape their being confined. The mystical dimension is almost physically present. The emotion is rather immediate as a recognition of the sublime and of an inner force that makes the colors glow. Josef Albers and Piet Mondrian delineate their colors sharply within particular geometrical shapes. Primary colors function within a strict frame. The colors are there in a confrontational interaction, like actors who fail to perform their role and merely refer to themselves. The emotion is less direct than in a Rothko and requires more time. Similar to the exaltation of scientists such as Einstein when facing the order, the harmony, and the laws of the cosmos, such emotion is about a vision that has to do with sublime beauty, clarity, and precision of the numerical laws of the real world. It is hardly a coincidence that Philippe Van Snickâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s painting starts from the laws of numbers as well.

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[243]â&#x20AC;&#x192; Studio view, 2008


2000 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels. H / — Gezicht, 2000 : loose cotton canvas worked with various T W layers of white acrylic paint. At its two corners, it is hung

on the wall, not stretched tightly. The canvas will sag, also through the weight of the paint, and this produces a fold in it. Ph. Van Snick draws a link with the Holy Veil of Saint Veronica, which gives rise to the association with “face”. [Interview with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 23.12.09]

— Canvases developed horizontally and worked with various layers of paint, which causes the corners to curl. Often, the paint will show cracks and craquelures, like wrinkles in a skin. Including : Visage – Paysage jaune [244], 2000, acrylic and vinyl on cotton canvas, glued on panel, (36 × 44 cm). Visage – Paysage – noir – nuit [248], 2000, acrylic and vinyl on cotton canvas, glued on panel, (66 × 66 × 4.5 cm). Inmiddels [249], 2000, acrylic and vinyl on canvas (63.5 × 63.5 cm). The work may be exhibited on the floor. Violet op groen [245], 2000-2001, acrylic on canvas, glued on panel, (36.5 × 44.5 cm).

[244]  Visage – Paysage jaune, 2000

— Big Tie [246], 2000, vinyl on rolled cotton canvas, (342 cm unrolled × 15 cm). The roll’s inside is red and its outside is blue. — R., 2000, acrylic and vinyl op cotton canvas, mounted on frame, (85 × 80 cm). EX — Philippe Van Snick, Jeanine Cohen, Brussels, CCNOA,

26.2 – 23.4.2000. [247] Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Peau de Chagrin [215], 1996 ; Grand mélange particulier, 1996 ; Paysage-Visage [225], 1998 ; Pancarte [227], 1998-1999 ; R., 2000. An edition is published as well. — From Rags to Riches, Tournai, Fondation de la Tapisserie, 29.4 – 25.6.2000. Curator : Petra Bungert. Catalog.

[245]  Violet op groen, 2000-2001

Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Désert Rouge [223, 284], 1998, on the floor ; Zonder titel, 2000, the canvases from the exhibition Trattendosi in Venice (Summer 1999) were cut into pieces and exhibited on the floor. On this, Ph. Van Snick has commented :

I cut to pieces two large canvases that were on view in Venice. (…) These cut-up canvases I subsequently exhibited

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2000

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

at the Musée de la Tapisserie in Tournai, in the context of a group exhibition. This cutting up mainly took place for practical reasons, after which it turned out that the pieces as such were rather exciting. The large canvases were removed from their frame and cut into four, so that each part came with a white side of the unpainted edge. The pieces can be arranged as some sort checkers board on the floor. Before, I had exhibited canvases directly on the floor, such as the red canvas with the expressive folds. [In : Philippe Van Snick ‘Territorium’. Een gesprek tussen Philippe Van Snick, Wouter Davidts en Eva Wittocx, in Kunst Nu, Ghent, S.M.A.K., December 2000, nr. 6, p. 4-9; translated from Dutch]

— Lieu communs – Gemeenplaatsen, Brussels, Moving Art Studio, 6 – 8.10.2000. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Glazen cylinders, 1989 ; Lingots [194], 1993 ; Pensées molles [208], 1995 ; Territorium [232, 235, 251], 1999. — Philippe Van Snick, Ghent, S.M.A.K., 8.12.2000 – 4.2.2001. Selective retrospective of the work since late 1984. [250 – 251] Catalog : Philippe Van Snick. Territorium, Ghent, S.M.A.K., 2000. With an introductory text by Jan Hoet : 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9, p. 7-11, and an interview with Philippe Van Snick by Wouter Davidts : Tussen schilderij en sculptuur, p. 22-33. On this exhibition, Ph. Van Snick says :

[246]  Big Tie, 2000

The starting-point of the exhibition at S.M.A.K. was not so much to make a large installation with colored surfaces, but rather to bring together existing works in a relevant way. In 1984, there was a major exhibition of my work at the former Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, across the street. My work has since undergone various changes—changes that follow a certain pattern even if it is not immediately a clear one. In this context it seemed interesting to me elucidate the underlying basic principle of my oeuvre. It begins with the series Symmetrisch – Asymmetrisch and moves on to the large color installations and the very recent paintings. The canvases I gather here are also at the basis of the large site-bound installations that I realized over the past years. The underlying idea is the actual essence of the work, which is followed by their execution, gradually leading to certain paintings or very large installations. I would like to show the different steps, which in fact are very exciting but were never really center-stage. (…) Step by step, almost chronologically, I wish to bring together particular ensembles. Thereby several reconstructions of earlier exhibitions will be included as well, such as the exhibition at Waasmunster. In addition, there will be a room filled with sculptures, and a room devoted to the most

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recent works in which I apply mixed colors. (…) All works are elaborations of a single concept that each time takes shape differently. [In : Philippe Van Snick ‘Territorium’. Een gesprek tussen Philippe Van Snick, Wouter Davidts en Eva Wittocx, in Kunst Nu, Ghent, S.M.A.K., December 2000, nr. 6, p. 4-9, translated from Dutch] A / — Brussels Symmetric White, 2000, Brussels, CCNOA : ED 36 Quic cam c-prints, in an edition of 12.

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2000

[247]  top: Grand mélange particulier, 1996 / R. 2000 / Peau de Chagrin, 1996  bottom: Paysage – Visage, 1997 / Pancarte, 1998-1999. Installation views: CCNOA, Brussels, 2000

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[248]  Visage – Paysage – Noir – Nuit, 2000

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2000

[249]  Inmiddels, 2000

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[250]  Symmetrische en Asymmetrische Dag en Nacht reeks, 1990. Installation views: S.M.A.K., Ghent, 2000

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2000

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[251]  Territorium, 1990 / R&B Paysage, 1999  right: Groot Vertikaal, 1999. Installation views: S.M.A.K., Ghent, 2000

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2001 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels.

R Philippe Sollers : Eloge de l’infini, Paris, ed. Gallimard, 2001. H / — Citro(e)n Limo(e)n [256], 2001, acrylic and vinyl on canvas with T W curled edges, glued on panel, (42 × 52 cm).

— Nomadische Landschappen [252], 2001-2003. Series of ten works, of various formats, acrylic and vinyl on canvas, with slightly curled or cut-off edges, glued on panel. Each of the canvases is divided in two horizontal colored planes. From 2001 : nr. 1 : (51.5 × 44 cm). nr. 2 : (48.5 × 41 cm). nr. 3 : (50.5 × 41 cm). nr. 4 : (49 × 43 cm). nr. 5 : (51.5 × 53.5 cm). — Zonder titel [253], 2001, (151 × 161 cm). Pale blue monochrome in duotones, painted in the manner of Espaces Lisses, Espaces Striés. — Zonder titel, 2001, (101 × 81 cm). Pale blue monochrome in duotones. — Figuur / Figure [257], 2001, acrylic and vinyl on canvas mounted on frame, (81 × 101 cm). — Désert Noir (Espaces Lisses, Espaces Striés) [255], also called Mars Black, 2001, (170 × 160 cm). Cotton canvas with added folds, drenched with acrylic paint, put on the floor. EX — re_Touche, 250 jaar schilders van de Koninklijke Academie

van de Hogeschool Gent, Ghent, Kunsthal Sint-Pietersabdij, 7.9 – 7.10.2001. + Similarly titled book. Coordination : Stef Van Bellingen, Brussels, Dexia Bank and Tournai, La Renaissance du Livre, 2001.

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[252]  Nomadisch Landschap nr. 1, 2001-2003


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2001

[253]  Zonder titel, 2001

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[254]  R&B Paysage, photomontage, 1999

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2001

[255]  Désert Noir (Espaces Lisses, Espaces Striés) (detail), 2001

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[256]  Citro(e)n Limo(e)n, 2001

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2001

[257]  Figuur / Figure, 2001

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2002 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels. G Galerie Guy Ledune, Brussels, 2002 T H / — Rhitme [258] (sic), 2002, acrylic and vinyl on cotton canvas W (39.5 × 33 cm). In the middle of the canvas is a squared hole

of 1 cm2, used to hang the work, which caused it to hang at an angle. On the back : collage of text from : Gilles Deleuze and Guattari : Capitalisme et Schizophrénie. Mille Plateaux, Paris, Les Editions de Minuit, 1980, chapter : De la ritournelle, p. 384, in which there is the sentence : Du chaos naissent les Milieux et les Rythmes (Environments and Rhythms are born out of chaos). — Nomadische Landschappen, 2001-2003. Series of ten works, of various formats, acrylic and vinyl on canvas, with slightly curled or cut-off edges, glued on panel. Each of the canvases is divided in two horizontal colored planes. From 2002 : nr. 6 : (50 × 43 cm). nr. 7 : (48,3 × 49,8 cm). — Paysage Rouge / Rood Landschap [263], 2000-2002, diptych, acrylic and vinyl on canvas mounted on frame, 2 × (101 × 81 cm). Each canvas is divided in two horizontal surfaces. Left : upper part red and lower part black. Right : upper part pale blue and lower part red. — Zwarte plooien [262], 2002, acrylic on canvas, folded, the backside of the edges painted pale blue, (64.5 × 68 × 4 cm). EX — Philippe Van Snick. Tableaux – Schilderijen, Brussels,

Galerie Guy Ledune, 25.1 – 2.3.2002. [259] Ph. Van Snick exhibits, among other things, five Paysages Nomades – Nomadische Landschappen [253] of 2001 ; Figuur [257], 2001. — (Conflict) over grenzen, Genk, FLACC – centrum voor kunsten en beeldcultuur, studio digitale beeldverwerking, 26.10 – 24.11.2002. Participants : Maria Gabriëlle, Henri Jacobs, Gert Robijns, Peter Rogiers, Philippe Van Snick, Mayte Vieta. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Blauw – Zwart – Grijs in studio [260], 2002 ; Désert Noir (Espaces Lisses, Espaces Striés) [255], also called Mars Black, 2001, on the floor.

[258]  Rhitme, 2002

Afterward publication : FLAC© 2004, Genk, FLACC centrum voor kunsten en beeldcultuur, yearbook 2004. Later on : exhibition in Leuven, Provinciehuis VlaamsBrabant, 7 – 28.5.2004.

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2002

— FreeSpace Limburg – Tentoonstelling 1, Hasselt, Provinciaal Centrum voor Beeldende Kunsten – Begijnhof, 29.6 – 18.8.2002. [261] Curator : Gert Robijns.

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

Ph. Van Snick realizes a mural Bichrome Territorium [261]: large horizontal rectangle divided in two horizontal parts, the upper side in red and the lower side in pale blue / Dag + Territorium, 1999, in front of it.

[259]  Figuur, 2001 / Zonder titel, 2001 / Zonder titel, 2001. Installation view: Galerie Guy Ledune, Brussels, 2002

A / — Invitation by FLACC centrum voor kunsten en beeld­ ED cultuur, Genk, to realize work in its digital imaging studio. Working period : April – October 2002. Ph. Van Snick realizes Blauw – zwart – grijs in studio [260], 2002, 9 digital prints, framed : 9 × (135 × 105 cm). Exists as one copy. This collaboration culminates in the exhibition (Conflict) over grenzen, Genk, FLACC – centrum voor kunsten en beeldcultuur, studio digitale beeldverwerking, 26.10 – 24.11.2002.

[260]  Blauw – zwart – grijs in studio, prints, 2002

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[261]  Bichrome Territorium, 2002. Installation view: Provinciaal Centrum voor Beeldende Kunsten – Begijnhof, Hasselt, 2002

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2002

[262]  Zwarte plooien, 2002

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[263]  Paysage Rouge / Rood Landschap, 2002

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[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

2002

2000 -2010

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295


2003 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels. T H / — Nomadische Landschappen [264], 2001-2003. Series of ten W works, of various formats, acrylic and vinyl on canvas, with

slightly curled or cut-off edges, glued on panel. Each of the canvases is divided in two horizontal colored planes. From 2003 : nr. 8 : (39,5 × 44,5 cm). nr. 9 : (34 × 38 cm). nr. 10 : (36 cm × 43 cm). — Plis / Plooien [267], 2003, acrylic on canvas, folded, glued on panel, (38.5 × 45.5 cm). — Territoire de Voyage [289], 2003, maple, (183 × 71 × 71 cm). All parts can be disassembled. EX — Charlie’s place, London, Fordham at Annely Juda Fine Art,

29.5 – 19.7.2003. [266] Ph. Van Snick exhibits Monochrome déstabilisé-re Ag, 1980, and exhibits the various parts of the work in the space along with the works of the other participating artists. In his contribution to exhibition brochure, Ph. Van Snick writes :

The ten fragments make another figure in 2003.

[English in original]

— Gelijk het leven is. Belgische en internationale kunst uit de collectie, Ghent, SMAK, 28.6 – 14.9.2003. Farewell exhibition of conservator Jan Hoet. Of Ph. Van Snick : Eclips II [87, 99], 1978. — Daniel Göttin, Jan van der Ploeg, Philippe Van Snick, Brussels, CCNOA, 28.11.2003 – 18.1.2004. Ph. Van Snick realizes Promised Land [265], 2003, in the Project Room. The work consists of Territoire de Voyage [289, 295], 2003, opposite of a mural : white wall on which a horizontal rectangle divided in two horizontal rectangles : lower part painted pale blue, upper part painted white (on white). — Chaque jour l’art à Liège change le monde. Quinze artistes dialoguent avec la collection de la Cera Foundation, Liege, MAMAC, 20.12.2003 – 8.2.2004. A / — Duif – Duiven, 2003, photographical assignment from ED Cera, Leuven, for a campaign image.

Used for cover of Decennium. Kunst in België na Documenta IX. L’art belge et l’après-documenta IX, Ludion / Cera, Ghent[264]  Nomadische Landschappen, 2000-2003 Top to bottom: nr. 8, nr. 9, nr. 10

296

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2000 - 2010


2003

Amsterdam, 2003, and for cover of the publication Kunst Inkijk (Made in Belgium). Vijf jaar ondersteuningsbeleid door Cera, Leuven, 2003. + Offset print on paper, 50 copies, edition (25 signed and numbered + 25 artist proofs).

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

— 14 Landschappen / Paysages, 2003, acrylic and vinyl on MDF, 14 × (45 × 45 × 3.8 cm). Installation for the entry hall of Surfhouse, Belgacom building in Evere.

[265]  Promised Land, 2003. Installation view: CCNOA, Brussels, 2003

[266]  Installation view: Fordham at Annely Juda Fine Art, London, 2003

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297


[267]  Plis / Plooien, 2003

298

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[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

2003

[268]  Foetus, 1982. Studio view, 2003

2000 - 2010

Chronology

299


[279]  Passions Humaines – Menselijke passies, 2005. Work in situ: Etablissements d’en face, Brussels, 2005

312

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2000 -2010


[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

2005

2000 -2010

Chronology

313


2006 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels.

R Philippe Sollers : Une vie divine, Paris, Gallimard, 2006. H / — Pans de Sensation [286], Open studio, Schaerbeek, Brussels, T W Kesselstraat, 2005-2007.

Work in situ, developed in collaboration with several students of Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design, within the framework of the OPK-research project Space and Time in Minimalist and Abstract Painting. The Case of Philippe Van Snick, initiated by Prof. Dr. Hilde Van Gelder. — L’arbre tombé, 2006, video, 56 min. EX — Presentation of Chromatische Reeks, 2005, Ostend, Provin-

ciaal Museum voor Moderne Kunst in Oostende, 19.1.2006. This is done within the framework of the OPK-research project Minimalistische en abstracte schilderkunstige ruimte en tijd. De casus Philippe Van Snick, initiated by Prof. Dr. Hilde Van Gelder. — Painted Objects, Brussels, CCNOA, 9.2 – 12.3.2006. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Vertikaal, 1993. — Trends 06, Ghent, Sint-Barbaracollege, February 2006. Curator : Luc Tuymans. Catalog. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Het is een ding. DWB [271], 2004, diptych. — Mystiek van de kleur te gast in de wereld van Roger Raveel, Machelen-Zulte, Roger Raveelmuseum, 26.4 – 4.6.2006. — Philippe Van Snick, Undisclosed Recipients, Mechlin, De Garage, 6.10 – 26.11.2006 and Grimbergen, Cultuurcentrum Strombeek Grimbergen, 6.10 – 17.12.2006. [280 – 282] Catalog. At De Garage, Mechlin : exhibition of early work from the 1960s and 1970s (including series of photographs, slides, and 16 mm films) + recent series of paintings, Chromatische reeks [278], 2005. At CC Strombeek : Installation Un coup de dés … [282] : mural based on Chromatische Reeks + ten unevenly colored cubes of different sizes, randomly spread throughout the space. + Intervention on the side wall : black ellipsoid painted on white background.

[280]  top: Keien op vloer, 1973 / Zonder titel, 1972  middle: Chromatische reeks, 2005  right top: Dynamic / Mind / Drawings, extension, 1971. Installation views: De Garage, Mechlin, 2006

A / Philippe Van Snick : Rood, Geel, Blauw & …, (Texts with ED Wikipedia in several languages), contribution to Gagarin,

Antwerp, Gaga vzw, 2006, nr. 14, p. 102-121.

314

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2006

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

This contribution was reproduced, in another format, in Het beste uit de tijdschriften 2007. De keuze van Margot Vanderstraeten, Brussels, CeLT, October 2007, p. 14-24.

[281]  Installation view: CC Strombeek, Grimbergen, 2006

2000 - 2010

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315


[280]â&#x20AC;&#x192; Installation view: De Garage, Mechlin, 2006


[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

2006


[282]  Un coup de dés…, 2006. Work in situ: CC Strombeel, Grimbergen, 2006


[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

2006


2007 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels. H / T W

Color needs time. [Interview with Ph.V.S., studio, Brussels, 4.10.2007 ; translated from Dutch]

— Pans de Sensation [286], Open studio, Schaerbeek, Brussels, Kesselstraat, 2005-2007. Work in situ, developed in collaboration with several students of Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design, within the framework of the OPK-research project Space and Time in Minimalist and Abstract Painting. The Case of Philippe Van Snick, initiated by Prof. Dr. Hilde Van Gelder. — Blauwe kolom [242, 283, 287], 2007-2009, acrylic on canvas, (149 × 99 cm). The canvas is divided into three vertical bands, the middle one being wider than the two equal ones on the side. The bands on either side are divided horizontally in two equal parts. The middle band is painted in pale blue (Dag). The bands on the side are painted in grey tones, the upper and lower halves on both sides being the same. — Zwarte kolom [242], 2007-2009, acrylic on canvas, (149 × 99 cm). The canvas is divided into three vertical bands, the middle one being wider than the two equals ones on the side. The bands on either side are divided horizontally in two equal parts. The middle band is painted black (Nacht). The bands on the side are painted in grey tones, the upper and lower halves on both sides being the same. — Blauwe kolom and Zwarte kolom are mostly exhibited as diptychs. There are five of such diptychs.

[283]  Blauwe kolom, 2007-2009. Installation view: White-Out Studio, Knokke, 2007

EX — De avonden in de Greenwich, Brussels, Café Greenwich,

Kartuizerstraat 7, 9.2.2007. Ph. Van Snick presents his video L’arbre tombé, 2006. — Philippe Van Snick, Knokke-Heist, White-Out Studio, 14.4 – 10.6.2007 + Window Exhibition, Knokke-Heist, White-Out Studio 1.7 – 2.9.2007. [284, 285] Ph. Van Snick exhibits several works, including some ten photographical works from the 1970s ; (0-9) bogen, 1977 ; Tien dagen – Tien Nachten [146, 282], 1985 ; Désert Rouge [223, 284], 1998, on the floor ; Désert Noir (Espaces Lisses, Espaces Striés) [255], also called Mars Black, 2001, on the floor ; Blauwe kolom [283, 287], 2007-2009. — Tegenlicht, Factory # 1, Strombeek-Bever, Cultuurcentrum Strombeek, 20.6.2007. Organization : Cera + DW B Curator : Luk Lambrecht. Film-expo : collaboration Saskia de Coster, Pieter Vermeersch, Philippe Van Snick.

320

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2007

+ book presentation : DW B 2007 3 – Vechtende spiegels, with contributions of Saskia de Coster and Pieter Vermeersch on the work of Philippe Van Snick.

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

— Small Stuff Three (Meeting Bernd Lohaus), Beersel, Herman Teirlinckhuis, 9.9 – 30.10.2007 and Drogenbos, Museum Felix De Boeck, 9.9 – 7.10.2007. Organization : Hans Theys. — Waterverf, Machelen-Zulte, Roger Raveelmuseum, 4.11.2007 – 3.2.2008. Organization : Fik van Gestel and Piet Coessens. With works by René Daniëls, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Raoul De Keyser, Mark Dion, Jef Geys, Roni Horn, Guy Mees, Marc Mulders, Elizabeth Peyton, Roger Raveel, Thomas Schütte, Luc Tuymans, Philippe Vandenberg, Fik van Gestel, Philippe Van Snick. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Foetus [126, 131, 268], 1982 ; Osaka, 1995 ; Le Monde, 1998 ; Tadao’s Window, 2005.

[284]  top: Architectuur, 2005  middle: Zonder titel, 2001 / Désert Rouge, 1998  bottom: Mars Black, 2001. Installation views: White-Out Studio, Knokke, 2007

[285]  Philippe Van Snick, invitation card, White-Out Studio, Knokke, 2007

2000 - 2010

Chronology

321


[286]  Pans de Sensation, 2007. W   ork in situ: Studio Kesselstraat, Schaerbeek, Brussels, 2007

322

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[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

2007

2000 -2010

Chronology

323


324

Chronology

2000â&#x20AC;&#x2030;-2010


[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

2007

2000 -2010

Chronology

325


326

Chronology

2000â&#x20AC;&#x2030;-2010


[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

2007

2000 -2010

Chronology

327


2008 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels. T H / — Blauwe kolom [242, 283, 287], 2007-2009, acrylic on canvas, (149 × W 99 cm). The canvas is divided into three vertical bands, the

middle one being wider than the two equal ones on the side. The bands on either side are divided horizontally in two equal parts. The middle band is painted in pale blue (Dag). The bands on the side are painted in grey tones, the upper and lower halves on both sides being the same. — Zwarte kolom [242], 2007-2009, acrylic on canvas, (149 × 99 cm). The canvas is divided into three vertical bands, the middle one being wider than the two equals ones on the side. The bands on either side are divided horizontally in two equal parts. The middle band is painted black (Nacht). The bands on the side are painted in grey tones, the upper and lower halves on both sides being the same. — Blauwe kolom and Zwarte kolom are mostly exhibited as diptychs. There are five of such diptychs. — Licht- donker studies, 2008, ten pairs, acrylic on canvas on cardboard, 20 × (60 × 40 cm). The works are hung in two parallel rows (light + dark) above each other. On each canvas there is a vertical middle band, light or dark, which may fade when being painted over. Each canvas addresses the theme of Day or Night. — Variaties op duotonen, 2008, series of some ten works, canvas on cardboard, (35 × 50 cm). The composition is based on geometrical patterns (mainly rectangles), which are symmetrically developed around a central axis. In each case Dag and Nacht serves as a theme. Black and blue prevail, mixed in different degrees with white or black. In some canvases there is a hint of more color. — Zonder titel, Summer 2008, series consisting of a dozen paintings, acrylic on paper, (32 × 41 cm). The theme of Day and Night is treated informally, in a rather lyrically painted background, in which different colors are applied. EX — Prospect 58, Antwerp, Hessenhuis, 18.4 – 15.6.2008.

Organization : Pieter Vermeersch. Participants : Carla Arocha & Stephane Schraenen, Iñaki Bonillas, Patricia Dauder, Edith Dekyndt, Frederik Van Simaey, Philippe Van Snick. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Chromatische reeks [278], 2005. — A bridge too far, Antwerp, NICC, 13.9 – 8.11.2008. Participants : Sarah en Charles, Filip Gilissen, Walter Swennen, Philippe Van Snick, Philippe Van Wolputte, Kris Vleeschouwer, Hans Wuyts.

328

Chronology

2000 - 2010

[287]  Blauwe Kolom, 2007-2009


[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

2008

2000 - 2010

Chronology

329


[288]  Installation views: NICC, Antwerp, 2008

330

Chronology

2000 -2010


2008

Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Territoire de Voyage [289, 295], 2003 + intervention in situ : one concrete post in the space was painted pale blue, another one black. A / Stapeling [290], assignment of the Klimopgebouw of the ED Gemeenschapscentrum De Kriekelaar, Schaerbeek. Design 2008. Completion : 2009.

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

On this Ph. Van Snick said the following :

[289]  Territoire de Voyage, 2003. Installation view: NICC, Antwerp, 2008

To supply an artwork for the renovation of De Kriekelaar community center seemed a challenge to me. After all, the spatial volume of the protruding elevator tower is perfectly suitable for a three-dimensional painting or a polychrome sculpture—for a work that shows what preoccupies me. For this assignment, I tried to create an illusion of a stacking of colored volumes of different size, sitting on a black pedestal. The volumes above it are painted in pale blue, white, red, silver, green, gold, yellow, violet, orange, and blue, or the colors of my ten-part palette. The black of the pedestal represents night, the pale blue on top of it symbolizing day. This artwork thus constitutes, as it were, a synthesis of my work. The special aspect of the ‘stacking’ is that it does not occur evenly, but gradually narrows on the sides of the tower, to end in a frontal blue plane on top. The proximity of the cafeteria’s outdoor seating and the bustle of a crowd offers me the opportunity to give something of the work to the people, namely the black pedestal on which children and adults can draw with pieces of chalk and leave behind messages. [In : In Transit. 5 Jaar visuele kunst in Brussel. 5 Années d’art visuel à Bruxelles. 5 Years visual arts in Brussels, Brussels, Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie, 2008, p. 251 ; translated from Dutch]

[290]  Stapeling, 2009. Work in situ: De Kriekelaar, Schaerbeek, 2009

2000 -2010

Chronology

331


2009 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels.

R — Peter Sloterdijk : Sferen, Amsterdam, Boom, 2003. — Herman De Dijn : Spinoza. De doornen en de roos, Kapellen, Pelckmans and Klement, 2009. TH / — Blauwe kolom [242, 283, 287], 2007-2009, acrylic on canvas, (149 × W 99 cm). The canvas is divided into three vertical bands, the

middle one being wider than the two equal ones on the side. The bands on either side are divided horizontally in two equal parts. The middle band is painted in pale blue (Dag). The bands on the side are painted in grey tones, the upper and lower halves on both sides being the same. — Zwarte kolom [242], 2007-2009, acrylic on canvas, (149 × 99 cm). The canvas is divided into three vertical bands, the middle one being wider than the two equals ones on the side. The bands on either side are divided horizontally in two equal parts. The middle band is painted black (Nacht). The bands on the side are painted in grey tones, the upper and lower halves on both sides being the same. — Blauwe kolom and Zwarte kolom are mostly exhibited as diptychs. There are five of such diptychs. — Following his interest in What is Philosophy ? by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guatarri, Ph. Van Snick uses the context of this study to realize a visual essay (video) : Percept, Affect et Concept [292], 2009, in which half a dozen canvases from the series Variaties op duotonen, 2008, are used in an animation. The film is shown during the symposium De ‘Plaats’ van de Kunst. Over de bestemming van het artistieke, Brussels, Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design, 3.3.2009 (organization : Marc Verminck).

[291]  Models for Sferen, 2009

— Zonder titel, Summer 2009, series of some forty works, acrylic on paper, (41 × 32 cm). Asymmetrical Dag en Nacht representation, in which each instance has three geometrical planes (squares and rectangles), painted in pale blue (Dag), black (Nacht) + one other color, rendered on a background that was previously painted in a lyrical fashion, in which the selected color plays a dominant role. EX — Jeugdzonde. Over opus één en opus min één, Antwerp,

LLS 387 Ruimte voor actuele kunst, 19.3 – 30.5.2009. Afterward : HEDAH, Centrum voor Hedendaagse Kunst, Maastricht, 5.9 – 4.10.2009. Group exhibition. Concept : Ulrike Lindmayr (in response to series of articles in De Witte Raaf, edited by Koen Brams and Dirk Pültau). Installation exhibition : Gert Verhoeven. Ph. Van Snick exhibits : Stilleven, 1960, oil on canvas on cardboard, (40 × 30 cm). [292]  Percept, Affect et Concept, stills, 2009

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2009

— There is no(w) romanticism, Brussels, Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, 28.4 – 11.7.2009. Group exhibition. Sophie Nys and Philippe Van Snick exhibit : Voyage autour de la mer Noire, 2002, short film by S. Nys, projected on Bichrome, 2000 (remake 2009), mural by Ph. Van Snick. [294] [B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

— Philippe Van Snick. Pans de Sensation, Brussels, Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design, 2.4.2009. Exhibition of a selection from the photographs that Lieve Vanderplancke made between 2005 and 2007 of the various stages of Pans de sensation by Ph. Van Snick. + Book presentation : Hilde Van Gelder and Marie-Pascale Gildemyn (eds.) : Philippe Van Snick. Pans de sensation, Cahiers van het IvOK, nr. 9, Leuven / The Hague, Acco, 2009. — Nous, les oeuvres d’art … of Angel Vergara, Brussels, Etablissements d’en face, 21.8.2009. Within the framework of this project, a screening of Percept, Affect, Concept, 2009, a visual essay (video) by Ph. Van Snick. — Short Tracks, Brussels, Wiels, 3.10.2009, 12.00-24.00. Within the framework of the BRXL BRAVO project, a screening of Percept, Affect et Concept, 2009, a visual essay (video) by Ph. Van Snick. A / — Opening ceremony Stapeling, assignment for the ED Klimopgebouw of Gemeenschapscentrum De Kriekelaar,

Schaarbeek, 26.6.2009. — Mexican Dream [293], 2009, poster realized after an assignment from vzw PROCC, Mechlin, within the framework of a poster project in which several artists participate. 400 copies, a number of which were hung in public places in Mechlin.

[293]  Mexican Dream, poster, 2009

[294]  Bichrome, 2000. Installation view: Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, Brussels, 2009. (in collaboration with Sophie Nys)

2000 - 2010

Chronology

333


2010 B Philippe Van Snick lives and works in Schaerbeek, Brussels. T H / — Sferen, 2009-2010, 10 wall paintings, each 300 × 300 cm. W In situ installation, in collaboration with Master students

Fine Arts of Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design. EX — Philippe Van Snick, Leuven, M. M van Museum Leuven, 21.05.2010 – 29.08.2010.  [295 –  297] Curator: Luk Lambrecht. Ph .Van Snick creates a work in situ, Sferen, in collaboration with ten Master students Fine Arts of Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design. Next to that, he shows the entire series Blauwe en Zwarte kolom [242, 283, 287], 2007-2009, and a selection of older works, including: Synthese van Traditioneel L-vormige kamer, 1968-1969 [7, 298]; Window Suite [13, 298], 1969; Dynamic / Mind / Drawings, Ellips- Ellipsoïde [27, 28], 1970-1971; Wandeling / analogie der dingen [29], 1971; Dix papiers, 1975; Relaties en Richtingen [38 – 40], 1972; 2 reeksen Kettingen [295], 1974; (0-9)² Epingles de signalisation [50], 1974; Décagones [59, 61], 1975; Stoel [60], 1975; Observation Ellipsoïde [75], 1977; Drie Oranje Zonneblinden [98], 1979; Eclats, 1979; Economie [143, 155], 1984; Dag & Nacht, Maankaart [153], 1985; Dag // Nacht [160], 1986; Symmetrische en Asymmetrische Dag en Nacht reeks, 19871990 (silver); Laura, 0-9 (polychroom), 1991; Beuys – Broodthaers [203, 295], 1986; Produktie Staat [173, 200], 1987; Mélanges Particuliers, 1995 [206, 207, 209, 210, 217]; Peau de Chagrin [215], 1996; Territoire de Voyage [289, 295], 2003.

[295]  top: Dynamic / Mind / Drawings, Ellips – Ellipsoïde, 1970-1971 / Punt, 1992 / Décagones, 1975  middle: Laura, 0-9 (polychroom), 1991 / Nomadisch Landschap nr. 10, 2003 / Paysage – Visage –Territoire, 1998 / Indifférence orbitale, 1979  bottom: Territoire de voyage, 2003 / Beuys – Broodthaers, 1986 / Produktie Staat, 1987  right top: 2 reeksen Kettingen, 1974 / Dix Papiers, 1975 / Relaties, 1972  right bottom: Punt, 1992 / Indifférence orbitale, 1979. Installation views: M. M van Museum Leuven, 2010

334

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[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions

2010

2000 -2010

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335


[296]  Sferen, 2010. Work in situ: M. M van Museum Leuven, 2010

336

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2000 -2010

Chronology

337

[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions


[296]â&#x20AC;&#x192; Sferen, 2010. Work in situ: M. M van Museum Leuven, 2010


[B] Biographical Elements  [G] Galleries  [R] Reading  [E / I] Encounters and Influences  [TH /  W] Themes and Works  [EX] Exhibitions  [A / ED] Assignments and Editions


[297]â&#x20AC;&#x192; Sferen (detail), 2010. Work in situ: M. M van Museum Leuven, 2010


1. Lore Van Hees, ‘Pans de Sensation, Kesselsstraat 14. Schaerbeek : An Impression’, in : Hilde Van Gelder & Marie-Pascale Gildemyn (Eds.), Philippe Van Snick. Pans de Sensation, Cahiers van het IvOK, Leuven : Acco, 2009 : 21-23.

“Sferen” Lore Van Hees

As early as in 2004, M—at that time still known as the city museum of Leuven —took the decision to plan a major exhibition of the oeuvre of Philippe Van Snick, starting from the preliminary results of the research project about his work initiated by IvOK. The various workshops and smaller exhibitions of work by the artist had led to new insights and brought together many researchers. This intensive collaboration also motivated Van Snick to develop new projects. The copingstone of this significant initiative is the exhibition at M, which comprises both early and recent works. The exhibition’s main work, perhaps, is Sferen (Spheres), which Philippe Van Snick developed exclusively for the museum space at M. It is impossible to capture the essence of the oeuvre—or method—of Philippe Van Snick in a single word or sentence. Such effort will easily end in generalizing terms that seem to miss the basic point. This applies of course to every carefully considered, thought-out oeuvre : words merely serve us as scarcely adequate means for approaching and interpreting such essence. And yet it is precisely some essence of artistic effort that the exhibition curator or artist would like to convey in an exhibition. In this case he or she wishes to immerse the spectator in the oeuvre that Philippe Van Snick has been developing for as many as 35 years now. Increasingly this oeuvre is seen as an important and inspiring frame of reference by a younger generation of students and artists. The exhibition at M offers a retrospective without ignoring the key elements of this oeuvre. In five rooms, Van Snick presents not only early works that provide insight into his ideas and artistic method, but also new works that reveal the ongoing development of his artistic thinking. As such he continues to pursue new openings to take his remarkably structured artistic practice to a higher plane. In 2006 and 2007, Philippe Van Snick worked on Pans de Sensation. In collaboration with several of his students, he painted large color planes on the walls of a temporary studio in Schaerbeek. Over a period of 24 months, these planes evolved from white to more saturated variants, eventually, after reaching their highest intensity, shifting into near black. The spectator who over the various months regularly visited the studio to witness the progress of Pans de Sensation will have discovered how minimal interventions directly influenced one’s perception and bodily sensations. The colors, their evolution, the vertical blue and black markers, and the cubes placed on the floor—all these elements contributed to a sense of process : a birth, a life, an ending. Still, Van Snick’s black and blue, like day and night, also refer to a sense of continuation and both indicate that each ending also gives rise to a beginning.1

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2. Luk Lambrecht, ‘Intelligente overwegingen van kleur in ruimte. Enkele bedenkingen over het werk van Pieter Vermeersch en Philippe Van Snick’, DWB : Vechtende Spiegels, June 2007 : 402-404. 3. Jan Hoet, ‘0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9’, in : Philippe Van Snick. Territorium, exh. cat., Ghent : SMAK, 2000 : 10.

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This kind of intervention suggests the core element of Van Snick’s artistic research. His paintings, installations, and sculptures explore, analyze, and create space by means of a purified, minimalist formal language. He invites the spectator to adopt a personal and autonomous position, analyze his or her experience of the space from up close, and discover what it means to him or her. Space, image, looking, the spectator and the interpretation of all these aspects, are center-stage throughout Van Snick’s oeuvre. The painted surface, then, never exists in isolation. Invariably it engages with spatial effects and the physical experience of the spectator. By using simple and limited means, Van Snick seeks to describe the essence of life—the course of time, the transition from day to night. This effort is marked by a desire for order. Notably, the decimal system is a recurring element. The application of color, however, invariably ensures that his projects move beyond their mathematical concerns. Van Snick employs the medium of painting as a unique instrument for suggesting emotions and moods without lapsing into sentiment.2 Although the application of color is equally subject to a calculated decimal system (Van Snick uses only the primary and secondary colors, the non-colors white and black, and the metallic colors silver and gold), this in fact helps to intensify our experience of his works. The gradually shifting shades of color, through saturation or not, and the juxtaposition or opposition of various colors in no small degree determine our experience of the space or environment in which the works are presented. If Pans de Sensation involved a constantly evolving artwork subject to spatial changes and physical sensations, elements that are crucial in the oeuvre of Philippe Van Snick, he seems to have adopted a similar intuitive and authentic way of working in the exhibition spaces at M. In the first room, archival documents and works from the 1970s are on display. Van Snick tends to develop different artistic figures or images all the time. However, as Jan Hoet has argued, “each work is autonomous and at the same time part of a more comprehensive whole. A chain that continues to grow longer.”3 This chain is unrolled here for the visitor to see. It amounts to a mix of conceptual photography, mathematics, fragile sculpture, and color, the underlying principles of which gradually unfold. It involves a search for truth and exactitude, a constant filtering away of redundant elements in order to approach life as closely as possible. The last two rooms show earlier work as well. What is present in embryonic stage in the many documents and smaller works is transferred here to monumental interventions. These installations reflect an ever-lengthening chain in fact. They provide the spectator other and new perspectives on the already existing, on the passing of time. However, the exhibition does not invite the visitor to adopt a chronological approach of the artist’s career. Amidst displays of older works, the spectators are also exposed to two new creations : an intervention entitled Sferen that


4. See Peter Sloterdijk, Sferen, Amsterdam : Boom, 2003.

merely exists for the duration of the exhibition at M and ten new monumental paintings in which the colors blue and black enter into a mutual dynamic, making room for several grey tones. This new series again means a further elaboration of a theme the artist has been exploring in an array of forms and materials. Both creations combine and rearrange the main concepts underlying Van Snick’s work. The calculated way of working and the sustained effort toward purification virtually render the oeuvre of Van Snick anonymous. Through this anonymity and the impersonal manner of painting—it is not possible to discern a painterly style of his own—the work grows fully detached from any sense of narrative or artistic subjectivity. In Sferen this autonomy is further refined and questioned at the same time. Apparently, Van Snick manages to remove his self fully from the painterly process. The title of Sferen refers to a book by the German cultural philosopher Peter Sloterdijk.4 In this book Sloterdijk undertakes the ambitious attempt to tell the history of humanity. He thereby no longer starts from the traditional philosophical question ‘What is man ?’ It is rather more important to this author to ask ‘Where is man ?’ Where do people live after arriving at the awareness of living on a ball or sphere, a peculiar and immense space they have to turn into their home ? To answer this question, Sloterdijk develops his theory of spheres : above all man is a builder of ‘spheres’, for he has to give shape to the world’s immensity. He shrouds himself in spheres (a house, a piece of land, a park, a nation) to find protection against others and the outside world, but also to imitate that world on a small scale. Likewise, Philippe Van Snick wants to challenge us to reflect on the place we occupy in this world, in this space. In Sferen the spectator is exposed to ten colored planes on the wall, each plane filled by another individual in his or her own way. Aside from being an artist, Philippe Van Snick is also instructor at the Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design. In this new work, he merges his two roles, as he did in Pans de Sensation. He assigned ten students to carry out the work with the means and techniques he himself provided, thus having others variously develop his own and impersonal way of painting. Even such cool painterly method will never fully eliminate a sense of personal touch, however. Because the monochromes are not taken to a full level of color saturation, each plane will reveal the individual touch of its maker and show—albeit minimally—the various personalities involved. In this way Philippe Van Snick removes art from the strictly personal domain of individual creation by a single artist. As a puppeteer, he is in charge of ten brushes, having others perform the work materially. The final result, then, rests on individual differences and a personal rendering of each color plane. The space in which Sferen is exhibited is cut in two by a vertical beam, after a design by the architect Stéphane Beel. Many would view this existing

Lore Van Hees

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architectural feature as an obstacle. Interestingly, however, Van Snick employed it as focal point of the installation. The front and the back he painted black and blue, respectively. In other words, day and night serve as links between the nearby planes. The spectator who passes by experiences the gradual changing of the colors. The nuances that resulted from the various individual ways of painting also throw various kinds of ‘light’ on the surrounding space, as well as, eventually, on the visitor’s movement through the space. Despite the absent touch of the master’s hand, the anonymous brushes, subtly orchestrated by the artist, still guide the viewer’s attention to the installation’s essence, its different shades. Although this new intervention is fully consistent with the artistic approach of Philippe Van Snick, the work can only exist within the walls of this particular architecture and it inevitably changes or questions the architecture of this space at M. Once the exhibition is over, however, the walls are painted white again, and Sferen is absorbed in the artist’s oeuvre—at some point to be differently revived again elsewhere.

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[298]â&#x20AC;&#x192; Synthese van Traditioneel L-vormige kamer, 1968-1969 / Window Suite, 1969. Installation view: M. M van Museum Leuven, 2010


Authors Lies Daenen holds a master’s degree in philosophy and postgraduate degrees in media and computer science and business administration. Since 2000 she has worked at Cera as program coordinator of social projects within the field of art and culture, poverty and social exclusion, agriculture, horticulture and rural development. Particularly within the field of art and culture she places a strong emphasis on supporting contemporary Belgian art and artists. Liesbeth Decan has taught theory and history of photography at the SintLukas Brussels University College of Art and Design since 2003. From 2002 until 2008, she was a teaching and research assistant in the department of art history at the K.U.Leuven. She is currently preparing a PhD thesis in art history on the insertion of the medium photography into the domain of visual arts in Belgium from the 1960s until the 1980s. Anny De Decker holds a master’s degree in art history from the K.U.Leuven. Between 1966 and 1976 she ran the Wide White Space Gallery in Antwerp and from 1976 until 1988 she taught at the Antwerp Nationaal Hoger Instituut voor Bouwkunst en Stedebouw. Anny De Decker is the editor of many artist books and multiples. Hans M. de Wolf studied art history at the Free University of Brussels and Columbia University in New York. He obtained a PhD degree in 2002 with an in-depth study of Marcel Duchamp’s Large Glass. Before being appointed as a professor of art history at the Free University of Brussels, he collaborated as a curator at the Nationalgalerie in Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. He is

the general coordinator of the artsplatform in Brussels, an interdisciplinary institute that brings together academics and artists. Marie-Pascale Gildemyn studied art history at the University of Ghent. In 2004, she obtained a PhD degree in art history at the Université Rennes 2 – Haute Bretagne, with an in-depth study of Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976). Les (noms de) personnes. She teaches modern and contemporary art at the Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design. Marie-Pascale Gildemyn is also active as an art critic (AICA), and is the honorary president of ABCA-BVKC, the Belgian Association of Art Critics. Alexander Streitberger is professor of modern and contemporary art history at U.C. Louvain. He is director of the Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography (www.lievengevaertcentre. be) and editor of the Lieven Gevaert Series (Leuven University Press). His research is focused on the influence of language philosophy on 20th-century art, the relationship between the still (photographic) and the moving (filmic) image, and the photographic discourses of modernity and modernism.

Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography (www.lievengevaertcentre. be), editor of Image [&] Narrative (www. imageandnarrative.be) and editor of the Lieven Gevaert Series (Leuven University Press). She is an editorial board member of A Prior Magazine. Her research focuses on the critical potential of the photographic in contemporary art. Lore Van Hees holds a master’s degree in art history from the K.U.Leuven. Since 2003, she has worked at the Stedelijk Museum Vander KelenMertens, now M. M van Museum Leuven. As a research assistant there she, among others, traced out a new policy for contemporary art, supervised and coordinated a great amount of projects, and was the assistant curator of several solo exhibitions with national and international artists. She is also involved in designing the regional art policy with an extensive arts program.

Paul Tanghe obtained a PhD in law and a master’s degree in philosophy at the K.U.Leuven. At the Albertus Magnus Universität in Cologne he studied applied economics. In the 1960s he started a career at Cera Bank, where he was a distinguished member of the board. Recently he published Toeternitoe. Zin, onzin en waanzin van de hedendaagse beeldende kunst (Lannoo, 2004) and Toeterweltoe. Zin, onzin en waanzin van religie (Lannoo, 2008). Hilde Van Gelder is associate professor of contemporary art history at the K.U.Leuven. She is director of the

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[299]â&#x20AC;&#x192; Art et Territoire, 1998

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Selective Bibliography Liesbeth Decan, Hilde Van Gelder and Philippe Van Snick This list is based on the bibliography made by Tim Toubac for this master thesis in art history at the K.U.Leuven (2006), entitled (0-9) Philippe Van Snick. We would like to thank Tim Toubac for his generosity in making his list available for publication. This bibliography is to be understood as a complement to the chronology by Marie-Pascale Gildemyn in this book and does therefore not include publications that are amply discussed in the chronology. Books and magazines Aktuele kunst in België: 19 portretten, Ghent, 1979: n.p. Beeren, Wim, ‘Kroniek West’, Museumjournaal, 2, (1995): 9-11. Bracke, Eric, ‘De ongrijpbare realiteit gevat in kleur. Schilderijen van Philippe Van Snick in de OXYGallery van architekt Tadao Ado in Osaka’, De Morgen (10.08.1995). Brams, Koen and Dirk Pültau, ‘Gesprek met Philippe Van Snick’, De Witte Raaf, 130 (2007) and 131 (2008). Brams, Koen and Dirk Pültau, ‘Portret van de kunstenaar als jonge man. Interview met Philippe Van Snick’, De Witte Raaf, 132 (2008). Daenen, Ward and Luk Lambrecht, ‘Galerist Richard Foncke overleden’, De Morgen (04.12.2005). Davidts, Wouter, Philippe Van Snick and Eva Wittocx, ‘Een gesprek tussen Philippe Van Snick, Wouter Davidts en Eva Wittocx’, Kunst Nu (2000). Davidts, Wouter, ‘De Productiestaat van Philippe Van Snick’, Jubilee-MuHKA 2007/1987/1967, 2007: 98-102.

Derave, Walter, ‘Konceptuele kunst komt in plaats van pop-art. Tentoonstelling te Harelbeke’, De Standaard (23.04.1971). Derave, Walter, ‘Philippe Van Snick: vorm geven aan analyse van levensverband’, De Standaard (23.04.1971). DLH, ‘Philippe Van Snick in GA, Dag en nacht samen in Waasmunster’, Het Nieuwsblad (28.01.1987).

Laureyns, Jeroen, ‘Meditatie in schilderijen Philippe Van Snick’, De Standaard (19.12.2000). Luyckx, Filip, ‘Philippe Van Snick. Wanorde in een schijnbare orde’, Sint-Lukasgalerie Brussel (November 1994). Luyckx, Filip, ‘Philippe Van Snick. De ontmoeting tussen gestolde tijd en digitale snelheid’, Sint-Lukasgalerie Brussel (January 2003).

Geirlandt, Karel, Kunst in België na 1945, Antwerpen, 1983. Gildemyn, Marie-Pascale, ‘Gent ’86. Un été pour l’art contemporain’, + – 0, 42, (1986): 65-72. Gildemyn, Marie-Pascale, ‘Philippe Van Snick, Dag/Nacht’, Artefactum, 21, (1987): 14-18. Gildemyn, Marie-Pascale, ‘Arte in situazione - Belgica situazione dell’arte: de Belgische kunst in Rome’, Artefactum, 19, (1987): 42-45. Gildemyn, Marie-Pascale, ‘Philippe Van Snick, Dag/Nacht’, Artefactum, 21, (1987): 14-18. Gildemyn, Marie-Pascale, ‘Philippe Van Snick, Als Dag en Nacht elkaar ontmoeten / When Day and Night meet each other’, Forum International, 4, (1990): 47-49.

Meuris, Jacques, ‘De problematiek van de blik’, Sint-Lukasgalerie Brussel, 2, (1988): 4.

Jansen, Bert, ‘Zolang als het duurt, Negen schilderkunstige uitspraken in Witte de With’, Kunstkroniek (26-28.06.1993): 12. Jooris, Roland, ‘223 m3 in Plus-Kern’, Plus-Nieuws, 2, (1969): n.p. Lambrecht, Luk, ‘Recent werk van Philippe Van Snick in Hasselt’, De Morgen (05.01.1994). Lambrecht, Luk, ‘Gehandtekende monochromen’, De Morgen (24.05.1996). Lambrecht, Luk, ‘Het licht en de duisternis in de verf van Philippe Van Snick’, De Morgen (10.03.2000).

Patteeuw, Roland, ‘Philippe Van Snick, Kunstenaar zonder ambachtsman “der kunst” te zijn’, Kreatief, 4, (1969): 37- 40. Peterinck, Odette, exhib. brochure, Philippe Van Snick en Manfred Jade, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, n.d. Rademakers, Luuk, ‘Getallensymboliek en bipolariteit bij Van Snick’, Yang, 24: 4, (1988): 72-77. Rademakers, Luuk, Ruimte,leegte en verijling van materie. Hedendaagse beeldende kust en poëzie in Vlaanderen in de wijsbegeerte, MA thesis, VUB Brussels, 1988. Sarafian, Paul, Structures d’evidence, Brussels, 1966. Sarafian, Paul and Philippe Van Snick, Ascencional Sutra, Ghent, 1968. Severeyns, Philippe, ‘Philippe Van Snick, Dag / Nacht (passages uit een interview met Philippe Van Snick)’, Periodiek GA, Waasmunster (06/01/1987). Van Den Abeele, Lieven, ‘Van Snick kombineert kleuren en vormen’, De Standaard (31.10.1984). Van den Abeele, Lieven, ‘Initiatief d’Amis. Kunstenaars komen op voor zichzelf’, De Standaard (1.7.1986).

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Van Dieren, Evelyne, Van Snick. Als dag en nacht elkaar ontmoeten, Beuys/ Broodthaers, MA thesis, Ghent University, 1996. Van Gelder, Hilde, ‘Fundamentele Schilderkunst Abstract (III): Philippe Van Snick’, in: Hans Vlieghe, Cyriel Stroo and Hilde Van Gelder, Vlaamse Meesters – Zes eeuwen schilderkunst, Leuven: Davidsfonds, 2004: 285-287. Van Gelder, Hilde and Marie-Pascale Gildemyn (eds), Philippe Van Snick. Pans de sensation, Cahiers van het IvOK, Leuven: Acco, 2009. Van Gelder, Hilde, ‘Photography as a Locus for Destabilizing Fundamentals. The Multi-Medial Installations of Philippe Van Snick’, in Helen Westgeest (ed.), Take Place. Photography and Place from Multiple Perspectives, Amsterdam: Valiz, 2009: 65-95. Van Snick, Philippe, ‘Asymmetric Red / Asymmetrisch Rood’, Witte de WithCahier, 1, Düsseldorf, 1993: 146-151. Van Snick, Philippe and Peter Verhelst, ‘Het is een ding’, Dietsche Warande en Belfort, 6 (2004): 789-805. Van Snick, Philippe, ‘Art & Territoire’, Kempens Informatieblad (October 1998). V.T. ‘L’art pauvre à gand’, Beaux arts magazine, 1260 (1969): n.p. Vuegen, Christine, ‘Philippe Van Snick: tussen dag en nacht’, Kunstbeeld (1993): 40-41. X, ‘Monumentale werken in nieuw Bredaas ziekenhuis De Baronie, Kunst als teken en als troost’, De Stem (18.12.1992). X, ‘Bonnard en Walt Disney, Geschilder in de ruimte’, Vrij Nederland (10.07.1993). X, ‘De Ruimtelijke bedoelingen van een huisschilder’, Nieuwsblad van het Noorden (20.04.1971).

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Catalogues 1969, Brighton, The Foyer – Brighton College of Art, Four Belgian Printmakers. 1978, Ghent, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Raoul De Keyser / David Rabinowitch / Richard Tuttle / Philippe Van Snick. 4 individuele tentoonstellingen. 1979, Ghent, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, InzichtOverzicht: Aktuele kunst in België. 1981, Antwerp, Openluchtmuseum voor Beeldhouwkunst Middelheim, Biënnale Middelheim. 1983, Antwerp, Montevideo, Diagonale. 1984, Łódz, Poznan, Wroclaw, Krakow, “A” View on Belgian Art. 1984, Ghent, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Eclats 1979. 1987, Lille, Quai du Wault, Jef Geys – Bernd Lohaus – Guy Mees – Philippe Van Snick (with text by Annie De Decker). 1987, Brussels, Sint-Lukasgallerij, Omtrent tekenkunst. 1993, Brussels, Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België/Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Kunst in België na 1980 (with text by Marie-Pascale Gildemyn). 1994, Hasselt, Provinciaal Museum Hasselt, Philippe Van Snick (with text by Ronald Van de Sompel). 1996, Deurle, Museum DhondtDhaenens, Philippe Van Snick –Manfred Jade (with text by Michel Assenmaker). 1999, Venice, organized by Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst Ghent, Trattenendosi (with text by Wouter Davidts). 2000, Toronto, Art Gallery of the University of York, Toronto Asymmetric Orange (with text by Walter Klepac). 2000, Ghent, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Territorium, Philippe

Van Snick (with texts by Wouter Davidts and Jan Hoet). 2001, Ghent, Sint Pietersabdij Gent, re_Touche, 250 jaar schilders van de Koninklijke Academie van de Hogeschool Gent. 2003, Ghent, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gelijk het leven is, Belgische kunst uit de collectie van het SMAK. 2006, Mechelen, De Garage and Strombeek, Cultuurcentrum, Philippe Van Snick. Undisclosed Recipients (with texts by Kim Paice, Wouter Davidts and Hilde Van Gelder).


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Editors Liesbeth Decan, Hilde Van Gelder Texts Lies Daenen, Liesbeth Decan, Marie-Pascale Gildemyn, Anny De Decker, Hans M. de Wolf, Alexander Streitberger, Paul Tanghe, Hilde Van Gelder, Lore Van Hees Translations Ton Brouwers, Esther Rosser Copy-editing Liesbeth Decan, Marijke De Keukeleire, Marie-Pascale Gildemyn, Hilde Van Gelder, Philippe Van Snick Photography Griet Blomme, Ronny Heirman, Ludwig Vandevelde, Bob Goedewagen, Eddie Daniels, Manfred Jade, Kiyotoshi Takashima, Bruno Vandermeulen, Dirk Pauwels, Peter Mac Collum, Eustachy Kossakowski, Philippe Degobert, Jef Somerlinck, Hans Sonneveld, Linda Greve, Marie-Pascale Gildemyn, Piet Isaby, Lieve Vanderplancke, Philippe Van Snick, R. Van Den Bempt Lithography Sarah Schotte Graphic design Thomas Desmet, Studio Luc Derycke Layout and typesetting Thomas Desmet & Jeroen Wille, Studio Luc Derycke Printing and binding New Goff, Gent

Published by ASA Publishers Ravensteingalerij 28 1000 Brussels Texts © 2010 the authors Images © 2010 the artist, the photographers © 2010 ASA Publishers for this edition All rights reserved ISBN 978 94 6117 002 6 D/2010/12.230/004


ASA Publishers

Philippe Van Snick  DYNAMIC PROJECT

This publication is the first career-encompassing monographic study of the artistic production of Philippe Van Snick. The result of a long-term collaboration between the artist, a team of researchers and a group of designers, it serves as an instrument for discovering Van Snick’s oeuvre as a totality. This book reveals Van Snick’s long-standing experimentation with a wide variety of materials and techniques, such as drawings and works on paper, photography, film, sculptures and works in situ. A red thread through the artworks is their close ties to everyday reality, life and nature. The accumulation of time incorporated in Van Snick’s work — he has been steadily building on his Dynamic Project since the late 1960s — now allows for a global understanding of his idiosyncratic, highly moving visual idiom. As a consequence it is now possible to distinguish Van Snick from his generation of peers, the conceptual artists of the early 1970s. This richly illustrated volume, with a foreword by Lies Daenen, is constructed around a chronology of the artist’s work and life, written by Marie-Pascale Gildemyn. Her all-encompassing approach is complemented with essays offering specific, in-depth readings. They are written by Liesbeth Decan, Hans M. de Wolf, Alexander Streitberger, Paul Tanghe, Hilde Van Gelder, and Lore Van Hees.

Philippe Van Snick DYNAMIC PROJECT



Philippe Van Snick - Dynamic Project