Patrick Vanden Eynde

PATRICK VANDEN EYNDE'S WORK incorporates time as well as space—a fictional and experiential universe that only emerges bit by bit. Each of his exhibitions has allowed him to replay his work, to push the evocative power of its images a little further. While painting and drawing have been his primary instruments, this time around the artist has chosen to work with collage. The images, which may be enlarged or drawn over, are scanned and then laser printed onto self-adhesive film. Each features one of four dominant aspects: evocation of sound; play with space; the technique of stitching or suture; and self-portraiture.

Sound: Black letters, and sometimes red ones, taken from found typefaces and rubbed in pencil repeat and jostle each other, evoking sounds. Fuse, 2000, for example, a spiral of letters and small ovals cut out of magazine photographs, refers to the sound of a lit fuse before the bomb's explosion. Space: A series of collages based on images cut out of specialized magazines unites objects of contrasting nature and scale. In their imaginary spaces the scales of a fish, a raspberry seed, the brass of a trumpet, or the black opacity of a sound engineer's mixing board are arrayed in an impossible perspective. Some of these collages are printed on film and attached to a Perspex support. Glossy, smooth, and enlarged to more effectively arouse desire, the objects shown in magazines are deployed here to emphasize the unreal, almost metallic quality that photography and printing have conferred on them.

This mixture of hyperreality and fiction recalls a previous series of drawings (“Studies,” 1995) in which Vanden Eynde made hybrids of sports-car steering wheels and shark fins, formal associations that opened a poetic vein unique to this artist. Similarly, the almost Cronenbergian exploration of the body and its scars in certain earlier drawings is recalled by the photocollage Mended, 2000, in which bits of red or black whose pictorial sources are unidentifiable have been sewn with a thick white paper “thread” onto a black or white surface. Associated with the two self-portraits—one printed as a black-and-white negative, the other printed also in negative but on top of a small case of clear red plastic, and both titled Spectres, 2000—these seams confirm the cold and latent violence that emerges from the sometimes disconcerting beauty of Vanden Eynde's works. Their inherent visual seductiveness, along with the concision of his exhibitions, further complicates the reception of their manifold layers of meaning. If Vanden Eynde's approach is radically singular, it is nevertheless inscribed in the contemporary debate as to the current state and imminent possibilities of pictorial space. Here, the references, like the ideas, are so integrated into the process of the images' composition that they may escape those who do not take the time to explore how and why these images haunt you, like a good film, long after you've seen them.

Anne Pontégnie

Translated from French by Jeanine Herman.