dusseldorf

Fabrice Samyn, From Matter, 2010, egg tempera and oil on canvas, 11 3/4 x 9 1/2".

Fabrice Samyn

Sies + Höke

Fabrice Samyn, From Matter, 2010, egg tempera and oil on canvas, 11 3/4 x 9 1/2".

The objects we identify as art are supposed to be eternal, or at least timeless and present. After all, how could something that isn’t even there be defined as art? This is the question posed by young Belgian artist Fabrice Samyn in his recent show in Düsseldorf. How can absence—and along with it the ephemeral—be captured pictorially? To do this, it must be extracted from its ephemerality and given over to permanence. Take, for instance, a breath, which leaves behind traces on the surface of a mirror. A mirror held to the lips of someone who has just died, lacking the trace of their breath, is incontrovertible evidence of death and so also a vanitas. Samyn immortalizes the image of breath on a mirror by scattering dust between the glass and its reflective backing in Dust of Breath, 2010. Also evoking the ephemeral are the motifs in his pictures, which are painted in a

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