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Walter Swennen, Untitled (Cruche et Pain, Rouge et Vert)
Walter Swennen
Untitled (Cruche et Pain, Rouge et Vert)
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Walter Swennen (Belgian, b. 1946)

Untitled (Cruche et Pain, Rouge et Vert) (1993)

Oil on Wood

Within Walter Swennen’s idiosyncratic paintings, figures, shapes, and words are freely and spontaneously associated to produce compositions that cannot be reduced to a signature style. Taking his interest in philosophy, poetry, and psychoanalysis as a point of departure, the artist produces images that wrestle with problems unique to the medium of painting, rather than serve as a pictorial representation of a concept or an experience.

Untitled (Cruche et Pain, Rouge et Vert) transforms the genre of still life, a traditional subject of painting that existed throughout the history of human civilization, through Swennen’s characteristically humorous and idiosyncratic visual language. As the title suggests, the painting intends to play simultaneously with the potential of color and representation: what occupies the composition is precisely what the title of the painting outlines in a matter-of-fact tone. As if reproducing the visual language of cartoons, the objects of the painting are drawn with quick, simple brush strokes, while flashes of yellow introduce moments of surprise within the composition that are not fully explicated within the title.