The stupidities Walter Swennen is concerned with must by all means be distinguished from Stupidity. The latter is filled with prejudices and burdened with rigid concepts and ponderous judgments to such an extent that it fossilizes itself. It fails to acknowledge the differences. It falls short of addressing the others. It merely recites. It is easily recognized because it is nasty. It is how Flaubert perceived it.
Walter Swennen’s stupidities are friendly. Derisory and light, they hover in the arbitrariness of intuition, in perpetual motion. They do not hesitate to associate: objects and words, languages and colours, memories and shapes…. They are far from authoritarian or ironical (the artist likes to emphasize this point). Their strength is their wit, their unattachment, their mobility…. so that they never close a series of signs with « that’s it, that’s what I wanted to say! »
Walter Swennen is a painter. He cares for the colours, the supports, the material, the juices, the transparency. That is the real that engages a painter. Everything has to fit together in the structure of a canvas, in search for some sort of balance to make the painting transcend the image. Herein lie the problematic nature and the seriousness of Water Swennen’s art.
This exhibition, which is Walter Swennen’s first in Galerie Greta Meert, brings together about 50 drawings. They take us as close as possible to the moment when a trivial idea, a stupidity, emerges, starts to travel and to collect associations.
The exhibition present a fairly small selection from the wealth of drawings that Walter Swennen over many years has been accumulating randomly in a trunk. They bear hardly any indications of dates or titles, as these are obviously of no great importance. They are what breathing means to us: when we can stop thinking about it, we cannot stop it.