GR Gallery is pleased to announce Apnea, the first solo exhibition of Johan Van Mullem with the gallery. The show, organized by Russ Basin, explores the artist unique creative practice and inspirational process of estrange himself. Apnea will reveal the latest series of artworks conceived by the artist appositely for this occasion, together with some older iconic models. It will put together 25 original pieces, always executed with the artist’s signature gestural technique and striking early Rembrandt-like style. Together with different sizes of canvas works will be exhibited several preparatory drawings on paper.
Skull. Ink on canvas, 30 x 30 in. Courtesy of GR Gallery.
Untitled. Ink on canvas, 59 x 50 in. Courtesy of GR Gallery.
The title is inspired by one the artist’s most fierce passion that becomes the only way to take an appropriate break from the aberrations and disorders of the contemporary world, a sort of underwater meditation. The paradoxical notion that the self-awareness and social examination can be found strictly through the absence of these systems is explored through his relationship with the act of painting. A process that allows Johan to take the proper distance and become free to put himself, through his forceful gesture and unbiased inspirations, completely into the creative process. As he explains: “All my work is done as unconsciously as possible. I never program a work or attempt to elaborate on a sketch. I never try to impose my feelings or ideas on a work. I always work the same way, by trying to feel the medium, the music, the silence, or the size, whether it is sculpture, drawing, or painting. It is a question of energy and discovering the moment. One must always reflect upon what they discovered, until something new appears.”
With the aid of vigorous brushstrokes, his powerful and dramatic aesthetic research is delivered by a strong colour contrast that make the artworks uncommonly vibrant and luminescent.
Apnea aims to showcase the exclusive creative approach of Master artist Johan Van Mullem by unveiling a lavish selection of works that epitomize his carrier, marked by unique introspective psychological portraits slightly reminiscent of the Renaissance Flemish school. With the aid of vigorous brushstrokes, his powerful and dramatic aesthetic research is delivered by a strong color contrast that make the artworks uncommonly vibrant and luminescent capable to issue a vital and up to date energy.
Johan Van Mullem was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1959 to Flemish parents, and spent much of his childhood following his diplomat father from country to country. He is a painter and sculptor known mainly for his powerful depiction of the human figure through luminous brushstrokes. He claims inspiration only from personal encounters with people on an everyday basis rather than aspiring to be like or to be inspired by any well-known artists, even though some merely aesthetic similarities with bacon, Goya and the Flemish school are perceptible. Van Mullem’s work can be found in public and private collections internationally, including collections in Brussels, London, New York, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Los Angeles and at the Musee d’Ixelles in Belgium.
Neue Luxury • Issue 4 • Art • Feature • BY Angela Hesson SHARE
JOHAN VAN MULLEM
Mirrors to the other side
Van Mullem’s monumental portraits are fluid, transitory, evocative things. Rendered in generously applied oil-based ink on unprimed board, they retain a quality of wetness, an uncanny sense that their surfaces are in fact still shifting.
Neue Luxury • Issue 3 • Art • Feature • BY Angela Hesson SHARE
Barry X Ball and the art of the improvement
Employing a variety of rare and experimental materials, in combination with emerging digital and industrial technologies, Barry X Ball reinterprets traditional figurative sculpture to produce works that are at once historicized and unmistakably of their period.