29.06—06.10.2024
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SHIRLEY TWIJFEL 0

In the end everything begins again, 2024

Shirley Villavicencio Pizango, PE
6 Wit.h
Acrylic on canvas, aluminium frame 190.5 cm x 188 cm x 2.5
Her paintings are a balancing act between drawing and painting. She first draws the outline of her subject (predominantly portraits or still lifes) with acrylic paint, then quickly but accurately uses a brush to make them pop in vibrant colours. Acrylics allow her to paint quickly and intuitively. Some parts of her paintings look unfinished and if there is any perspective at all, it is distorted. Her style is very recognisable. You sense a close kinship with Matisse and Picasso, with whom she "engages in a quasi-permanent dialogue intérieur ".[1] Shirley Villavicencio Pizango's powerful portraits are based on live models or analogue photographs. She often portrays herself, but also her family and friends with whom she has a personal, sometimes intimate relationship. The portraits are not an exact representation of her models, but rather a personal interpretation, in which she can express her thoughts and feelings. She is very interested in otherness. In that sense, her work is very inclusive and diverse. She portrays women as proud, confident people, averse to sensualism or exoticism. Shirley Villavicencio Pizango has lived in Belgium for almost half her life, but still has a very strong connection to her homeland of Peru. Her identity sits between those two cultures, and that duality is also one of her themes. People of colour are prominent in her work. They stand in the foreground and look the viewer in the eye. What immediately stands out are the white lips. When she arrived in Belgium 16 years ago, she spoke neither Dutch nor English. As few people speak Spanish in Belgium, she felt language-less. That is why she doesn't fill in the lips of the people she portrays either. They remain empty. In this work, we see an intimate portrait of the artist with her brother. As a result, there is a strong affinity with Wit.h's inclusive mission for crip artists. Wit.h makes space, in the broad sense of the word, in contemporary art for those who are different, those who are crip or oustider, those who think collectively and those who do not shy away from the ethical and political context of art. Wit.h questions and rethinks the accessibility of the arts field and aims to populate it colourfully. The titles of her paintings suggest that her work is less light-hearted than you might think at first glance. Behind the cheerful surface often lurks an aura of melancholy. As Bart Cassiman writes: "Notwithstanding the colourful palette, these are not cheerful paintings, even though they exude an insidious open-mindedness that is inimitable and mislead quite a few people."[2] In her studio, she surrounds herself with all kinds of objects such as curios, textiles, ethnic masks (which she collects), terracotta vases, rattan furniture, flowers and plants. These elements form the basis for her still lifes, which can also be considered self-portraits. They paint a picture of the artist and her identity, which is a kind of cross-over between South America and Belgium.

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

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