milan

Walter Swennen, To Mona Mills, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 67 × 63".

Walter Swennen

La Triennale di Milano

Given his loosely painted figuration and freewheeling combinations of words with overlapping Pop imagery, Walter Swennen could easily be mistaken for a neo-expressionist. However, the thirty-six works in this small survey of the Brussels-based septuagenarian artist’s production underlined his continuing exploration of how to put a painting together. Along with canvases from the past four decades, it included one sculpture, a painted metal disk, and two large rolls of painted paper.

Swennen studied psychology, wrote poetry, and taught psychoanalysis before seriously picking up a paintbrush in 1980. He describes the problematics of painting as lying “not between image and word, but between image and word on the one hand and painting on the other.” One could also say that his work inhabits the space between picture and object. In any case, writing plays as essential a part in his visual language

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