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Walter Swennen, Voiture
Walter Swennen
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Walter Swennen (Belgian, b. 1946)

Voiture (1999)

Oil on Canvas

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.

Voiture directly visualizes the signifier of the French title by placing a red car in the middle of the canvas against a dark navy background. Rather than render the car in realistic detail, however, Swennen portrays an image that is closer to a caricature of a car, with its major features omitted to give space for the artist’s playful transformation of the automobile through childlike, asymmetrical lines. The car is labeled “25” as if it is competing in a race despite the haphazard look, furthering the humorous atmosphere that permeates through the work.