Power Flower

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Bas Meeuws – Untitled (#92), 2013

Self taught photographer Bas Meeuws (°1974, The Netherlands) is inspired by the historical flower paintings of the Golden Age. The painters used to combine flowers from different seasons to achieve a dreamlike and timeless bouquet of exquisite beauty. Meeuws does the same. He photographs flowers separately and combines them with Photoshop emulating the same artificial beauty.

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Bas Meeuws – Untitled (#92), 2013 (detail)

In the photograph above (#92) he takes the flower composition to a modern aesthetics: a copper design table, a modern vase, all flowers are full and perfect. Some irony slips in when he composes the bouquet, in between the classical tulips and peonies he places kale leaves and a flowering bean stem.The curved line of the tulip is repeated in the body of a blue dragonfly. The pattern in the vase is repeated in the spots on the butterfly and the caterpillars. While looking at Meeuws’ work you continue to discover new details over and over again.

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Bas Meeuws – Untitled (#65), 2012

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Bas Meeuws – Untitled (#65), 2013 (detail)

The reflection of a window in the photograph above (#65) is a clear reference to the classical flower compositions with the same characteristic such as the paintings of Jan Davidsz. de Heem. In the reflection you can see shutters, houses and a cloudy sky. Meeuws constructed this image, had it printed on poster format and hung this poster opposite to the set up with the vase in his studio. By shining a flashlight on the poster the image was reflected on the vase. So what we see is a real reflection of an artificial image.

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Bas Meeuws – Untitled (#41), 2013

In the work above (#41) lots of insects are to be discovered such as the hoverfly. Meeuws includes hoverflies in most of his works as a tribute to historical flower painter Jan van Huijsum who seemed to use this particular insect as a signature.

I discovered the works of Bas Meeuws in the Power Flower exhibition in the Rockox house in Antwerp. The setting of the photographs in this historical house close to the works that have inspired this contemporary artist was really stunning.

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Check out his beautiful artist website here.

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Rinus Van de Velde – Donogoo Tonka

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Rinus Van de Velde – work from ‘Donogoo Tonka’ – boat (2015-16, charcoal on canvas)

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Rinus Van de Velde – exhibition view ‘Donogoo Tonka’ in SMAK

Rinus Van de Velde (Belgium, 1983) works big. The core of his work consists of very large charcoal drawings on canvas. The drawings are the end result of an exciting process that takes approximately one month: he looks for illustrations, makes real life stage sets, directs, acts, photographs and finally draws a selected photograph. To the drawings he then adds text.
He likes to have friends around in his studio and involves them in the preparation of his images, sometimes engages them to pose and to contribute to the accompanying texts.

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Rinus Van de Velde – work from ‘Donogoo Tonka’- car (2015-16, charcoal on canvas)

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Rinus Van de Velde – work from ‘Donogoo Tonka’ – the bar (2015-16, charcoal on canvas)

In his second exhibition at S.M.A.K. (Ghent, Belgium) Rinus Van de Velde visualises the novel “Donogoo Tonka ou les miracles de la science” (1920) by the French  author Jules Romains. He has converted this satire on capitalism and the ideology of progress into a storyboard of nine scenes in which he plays the leading character. Using drawings, texts on the wall and stage set elements he has constructed a mesmerising installation.

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Rinus Van de Velde – work from ‘Donogoo Tonka’ – papers (2015-16, charcoal on canvas)

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Rinus Van de Velde – work from ‘Donogoo Tonka’ – psychiatrist (2015-16, charcoal on canvas)

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Rinus Van de Velde – work from ‘Donogoo Tonka’ – jungle (2015-16, charcoal on canvas)

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Rinus Van de Velde – Sweet and intoxicating reverie (boat), 2016

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Rinus Van de Velde – exhibition view ‘Donogoo Tonka’ in SMAK with stage set wave in forefront

His friend Koen Sels contributes a lot to the accompanying texts and also interviewed Rinus while working in his studio. It’s a very interesting read if you want to know more about Rinus Van de Velde. Find it here.
Exhibition still on view in S.M.A.K. till 5 June 2016 – highly recommended and if you manage to visit don’t miss the work Rinus Van De Velde made in situ in the museum café.
All pictures are taken by me in the exhibition.