Michaël Van den Abeele
°1974, Brussels (BE) – lives and works in Brussels (BE)
When Michael Van den Abeele first started making video’s, years ago, he created simple visual animations of Marlboro cigarette packages or pin-up girls by using Word – the Microsoft computer program most people in the world use to make text documents – and not by using video. In other words, he took one method of processing and ordering information and used it for something completely different.
It should come as no surprise that when he started painting in earnest, he did so through an intricate process in which his paintings begin their life as carefully composed computer renditions, as screen-designed collages of colours and forms that sometimes take and repeat elements from his previous works. These are then copied from his computer-screen onto the canvas by hand. One might never guess this from the sumptuous, large-scale paintings that result from it: they are so painterly, so layered with his signature enigmatic forms, which sit between smoke and abstraction, so seemingly made from the spontaneity of a painter’s touch. And yet, everything about the aura of the medium and the singularity of the result is critically undercut by the artist because of the fact that they exist first in another, less material form: as an infinitely reproducible and yet tangible screen image, a mere collection of pixels, light and computer-codes. In short, this self-confessed copyist -for it must be said that repetition, reproduction, and the illusion of originality lies at the very heart of Van den Abeele’s practice -uses nearly everything that is particular to painting against itself.
(courtesy of Wiels)
Michaël Van den Abeele has exhibited internationally at, among others, Museum M, Leuven; Etablissement d’en Face, Brussels; Ibid Projects, London; Wiels, Brussels; REDCAT, Los Angeles; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Levy.Delval, Brussels; Gaudel de Stampa, Paris; and Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius.