Michaël Borremans: Eating the Beard

Overview

The paintings, drawings and films of Belgian artist Michaël Borremans (born 1963) seem to suspend humans above the logic of their actions, so that the simplest gesture or movement is emptied of sense and made arbitrary, tense and uneasily beautiful. Sometimes Borremans makes a garment the hero of the work, as in his well-known painting of a young woman with a bow: eye-catching as the subject's introspective facial expression undoubtedly is, the almost Pop-ish boldness of her bright white bow throws the whole ...
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2011 Hardcover New 9783775728355. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened--Text in English and German. 224 pp.; 135 color illus.

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More About This Book

Overview

The paintings, drawings and films of Belgian artist Michaël Borremans (born 1963) seem to suspend humans above the logic of their actions, so that the simplest gesture or movement is emptied of sense and made arbitrary, tense and uneasily beautiful. Sometimes Borremans makes a garment the hero of the work, as in his well-known painting of a young woman with a bow: eye-catching as the subject's introspective facial expression undoubtedly is, the almost Pop-ish boldness of her bright white bow throws the whole composition into a bizarre tension between moody inwardness and mischievous extroversion rarely seen in contemporary art. The title of this first comprehensive overview hints at the submerged streak of wicked Belgian wit throughout Borremans' oeuvre, and presents the most coherent portrait of the artist to date. It assembles more than 100 works made over the past ten years, showing how motifs and allusions migrate across media, unifying the oeuvre into a singular investigation of atmospherics, humor and the unexpected communicative possibilities of a restrained palette of beiges, browns and greys. The particular advantage this overview offers is precisely in the presentation of such cross-media unity, also revealing how much each medium verges upon becoming the other (the cinematic qualities of the paintings, the painterliness of the films). With more than 120 color plates, Eating the Beard is the essential Borremans monograph.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783775728355
  • Publisher: Hatje Cantz Verlag GmbH & Co KG
  • Publication date: 9/30/2011
  • Edition description: Bilingual
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Finest Monograph on Michaël Borremans to date

    Michaël Borremans: Eating the Beard by Hans Christ and Hans Rudolf Reust is strong on every count - the information, the quality and quantity of color reproductions and the quality of the design. The cover of the book as well as the title suggest that we are in for more than a superficial glance at that side of the young artist - that slyly wicked aspect of the artist's outlook on his models, and on the world as he views it. Michaël Borremans was born in 1963 in Belgium and spent the early years of his exploration of art in the fields of photography and design. As this intriguing and exceptionally well presented monograph reveals, those years of training polished his observing eye and ability to appreciate spatial relations, factors which when he turned to painting have served him very well indeed. 'The subject is an object to me', he has stated. His scenes of single figures or groups of figures are essentially motionless, as if frozen in time, a significant aspect is that they represent 'clichés and other elements that are part of the collective unconscious...Sure, there is nothing there. On the other hand, all is there'. His figures are in many ways unremarkable or mundane, simply performing stationary tasks in a moment of time. Some would ask 'why paint them' until the viewer becomes more sensitive to the manner in which Borremans paints: his brush strokes are deliberate, almost abrasively confident, as though what he is saying about what he is seeing is a personal dialogue between the artist and the 'model'. Yet it is just this manner of confidence that lends his paintings a sense of timelessness and importance. Borremans palette is muted for the most part: browns, grays, musty colors define the image and only occasionally does he add bright color to jar the eye as in 'The German' where a muted man is manipulating a cascade of bright red bead-like balls. Another aspect of his work is his frequent use of the top of the figure alone, placed inconspicuously on a table top: the meaning? Or he may paint only the lower trouser legs and shoes as a portrait. At other times he complete the standard concept of a portrait, as in 'the Avoider', which is a painting of a young bearded man, head to toe, clothed in a pink shirt, white pants, no shoes, and holding a walking stick as he confronts the viewer. Or he makes loud statements as in the painting 'People must be punished.' But by far the most frequent 'subject matter' of each of his paintings is simply a person, looking down, an object either present or absent, and the titles he attaches to these conundrums may seem to bear no affinity for the work. One aspect of Borremans' output that has not been addressed sufficiently in the past is his combination or mutual influence between his painting and his films and if for that reason alone this book is well worth owning. Michaël Borremans is rapidly becoming one of the most talked about artists in the art scene today. This Monograph proves why. Grady Harp

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