Juxtapoz Magazine – Pieter Jennes’s Rabelaisian Romp Through a Densely Populated Forest


Belgian artist Pieter Jennes‘ new exhibition When Weeds Bloom at Nino Mier Gallery is a Rabelaisian romp by a densely populated forest featuring 20-5 new paintings, home furniture, and a ground installation.

Past year in Antwerp, exactly where Jennes currently lives and will work, a social scene burgeoned outdoors the town middle. Because the pandemic compelled the closure of lots of community gathering places, individuals began congregating in the woods, wherever land was nevertheless general public. Jennes describes an invigorating blend of desperation and glee, as folks would assemble in freezing temperatures to consume, chat, and dance in an nearly laughably severe landscape. In When Weeds Bloom, Jennes represents some of the spirit of these gatherings, harnessing the shock, humor, and antiauthoritarianism that characterizes the carnivalesque.

Quite a few of Jennes’ slapstick compositions are divided in two, albeit unequal parts: just one element consists of a determine (or two) slipping, even though the other depicts a tiny huddle of figures with mask or doll-like faces staring at the display screen of gracelessness just before them. Crowds of clustered people have been, for the better portion of the past two many years, a taboo. But in Jennes’ paintings, what is hazardous is also what is lifestyle-affirming. His males and beasts point to the self-deprecating comedy that is so frequently a reprieve from the depths of despair, loneliness, and anxiety. In why and How? … no person will know, a cow inexplicably falls again-to start with on to an unsuspecting victim cigarette smoking a cigarette. Indeed: why, and how? We glimpse to Jennes’ other paintings for solutions, but they reply only with beguiling, clownish revelry.

The exhibition captures its cast of human and animal people mid-gesture within just theatrically flat outside configurations. Jennes foregoes obvious delineations in between foreground and track record, inserting horizon lines near to the canvases’ lower edge, and eschewing naturalistic point of view. Depth rather is articulated in Jennes’ surfaces, which are labored palimpsests of rich oil paint. Significantly of the texture, sample, and even emotion (his trees are loaded with lovers’ inscriptions) exhibited in the is effective is realized by means of his painstaking manipulation of issue and sort.

The flattened compositions in When weeds bloom resemble levels, revealing Jennes’ curiosity in the dynamics involving overall performance and observation. In I like everyday living a large amount, a figure topples headfirst into the grass while his dancing compatriots observe with heat smiles. In I’m fearful my toes are blue, a man on an overturned bike pushes a mate to the floor. A dense mass of figures acquire at the painting’s margin, seeing the scene with intrigue. The strangeness of becoming perceived normally takes on an explicitly surreal tone in exactly where have you fallen, have you fallen? The painting depicts a person slipping headfirst from a tree. He is inches away from the ground, but rather of grass we capture a glimpse of one more facial area. Their gaze locks: the falling male has been caught. Regrettably for him, his debauched tumble will not be damaged, only witnessed.

The partnership among actor and observer performs out not just in between figures within the paintings, but also in the kind and deal with of the exhibition as a full. Even though the flattened area of each and every canvas may well appear to be to drive back again on us, their installation reaches outward, inviting us into its sphere. Jennes’ forest surrounds us on all sides, and a suite of fifty metal frogs lies beneath our ft. The artist even features us a area to sit and remain a when: he hand-crafted a bench, a desk, and a established of chairs for the exhibition. The galleries, then, turn into Jennes’ expanded canvas, and we turn out to be members of his enchanted world.

The angle and aesthetics of carnival are deeply entrenched within just Jennes’ is effective, which locate auspices in fellow-Belgian painter James Ensor’s kaleidoscopically grotesque compositions. Usually, Carnival serves as a suspension of social and political mores. Once masks and costumes are donned, the regulations of well mannered society screech to a halt and citizens of any course are presented the probability to embody a far more libertine identification with small consequence. Even though When Weeds Bloom—which capabilities vagrants who consume, ogle, dance, sing, jump, and tumble amid thin-trunked trees—does not overtly reference the celebration, its spirit is evident in the type and articles of the function. What’s more, his paintings depict the threats we are willing to just take in the name of festivity.


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