29.06—06.10.2024
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52 works and paraphernalia from the period ...

René Heyvaert, BE
Plagued by a variety of physical and psychological discomforts, Heyvaert's condition was declared work-limiting for 66% in 1969. He was given disability status, which entitled him to a monthly replacement income. Heyvaert concentrated on fine art from then onwards. During this period, he could devote himself to his art full-time and acquired a sanctuary for himself, far away from the demands placed on him and the concessions expected of him as an architect. His personal history and his work were closely intertwined, as his work and private life evolved together. Heyvaert used everyday objects and materials and knew how to breathe poetry into his work like no other. He had the extraordinary gift of turning ordinary, simple objects from his surroundings into something special with a simple gesture. Heyvaert paid tribute to things with small, precise gestures. Form and colour play a key role in his drawings. Geometric forms permeate his entire body of work. After settling in Scheldewindeke in 1975, he combined a rigid geometric design language with organic forms from nature. As he grew older and his health deteriorated, he restricted himself to what he found around him. He explored repetition in materials such as oilcloth and wallpaper or by assembling breakfast cereal boxes and matchboxes, for example. In addition to objects and drawings, the presentation at After Paradise also includes several examples of his communication tool of choice: mail art. He showed great resourcefulness in postal items he sent to both his daughters (who didn't live in the same house as he did) and friends. Like no other, he knew how to stretch the conventions of this medium, so much so that it now seems amazing that postal workers ever delivered the pieces, which included a brush, knife and can opener. The presentation is conceived as an encounter, a limited selection and a cross-section of René Heyvaert's multi-layered oeuvre. The pieces date from 1970-1984, when his work was attracting very moderate interest and success. Wider appreciation of his work only came after his death. Curator Kasper König included him in his selection of Belgian art for Initiative 86 (Ghent, 1986, an exhibition that ran in parallel with Chambres d'Amis). Even today, Heyvaert is still considered an artist's artist, someone who is mostly appreciated by other artists (and less so by the general public).

23 artists present inspiring work at unique locations at historical sites in Kortrijk

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