Billboards Kortrijk 02:
16/12/2022 — 07/04/2023
In a very accessible and recognisable figurative style, Ghent painter Lucas Devriendt (°1955, Leuven) focuses on the essence of painting: on the canvas, with brush, paint, model and studio. He did this through contemporary versions of classic genre paintings such as still lifes and landscapes, but above all by painting portraits.
Devriendt’s studio played an important role here: as a place where he set up small still lifes, where his models posed and where he painted, but also as a background in his paintings. Often the models posed in front of a white canvas hanging ready in his studio – like a picture within a picture. The small red table he used in his studio is also present in numerous works. Usually, you see the table in the background, but sometimes it is also depicted very prominently – then all you see is a small red table full of paint stains with a smoking cigarette on the edge, waiting for the painter to return to his work.
From his fascination with the old masters and the way they made their models appear from a black background – as if from nowhere – Devriendt started using black plastic as a background for his portraits. Soon, however, this black plastic came to the fore and became one of the main subjects of his paintings. He painted a whole series of works on this subject and explored the topic further in his PhD. On the one hand, the series is about pure painting (he once said he used as much black as white for these works), on the other hand, this series is also about absence. In addition, the painter hereby reflects on one of the most iconic masterpieces of the 20th century: Kazimir Malevich’s famous black square.
Lucas Devriendt died unexpectedly on 8 November 2017, at the age of 62. He was well acquainted with his contemporaries Dirk Vander Eecken and Joris Ghekiere: as teenagers, they took classes together at the Academy in Kortrijk. Devriendt was a painter as well as a teacher – both roles had an equal place in his life. As one of the driving forces of the painting department of LUCA | School of Arts, Lucas had shaped countless young artists over the past decades and helped them find their own artistic vision and path.
All images courtesy of the artist
Installation photography: Dirk Pauwels
Billboards Kortrijk is a long-term art project in public space at Budabrug, Kortrijk. The billboards are selected from Billboard Series’ archive and are presented here within a new narrative. The first five presentations in Kortrijk focus on the artist portrait. Billboards Kortrijk wants to build a sustainable and productive dialogue with the surrounding neighbourhood and urban landscape, and introduce a broad audience to different visual languages and ways of looking at the world.
Billboards Kortrijk is a project of artlead, together with Be-Part Center for Conteporary Art and 019. Billboards Kortrijk is curated by Thomas Caron and takes place within a scenography by architect Olivier Goethals.