An ode to the works of Claude Cahun & Marcel Moore

Presentation for international women's day 2021

Warp Art Center, Sint Niklaas

(Dutch text below)

Within her representations of women in European art, Eline De Clercq (b. 1979) painted a series of portraits based on Greek Kore sculptures. Their smiles make these free-standing images of young women from the Greek archaic period so lively and engaging. And, they also had colour. In the neoclassical period, colour was classified as secondary to form, which led to a 'decoloured' vision. Today we know better: the marble was polychromed. Colour not only increased the reality effect but offered the Greek artists more symbolic and narrative possibilities and enabled them to characterise.
 
Through her use of colour, Eline also gives these women character and personality. It fits in with her research in which she questions female representation in art and culture. An important precursor is the fascinating life and artistic attitude of Claude Cahun (1894-1954) and Marcel Moore (1892-1972). This duo (pseudonyms for Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe) liberated the stereotypical representations of women from the art canon and the social straitjacket. In their art, they show a different perspective: sweet, endearing, empowering, encouraging, surrealistic, elegant, funny, sophisticated, genius, daring, kaleidoscopic and intimate. But under the totalitarian regime of the time, their art was 'entarted', pure degeneracy - if only for their revolutionary daring to address the issue of transgenderism.

Stef Van Bellingen




 

Binnen haar voorstellingen van vrouwen in de Europese kunst, schilderde Eline De Clercq (1979) vorig jaar een reeks van portretten gebaseerd op Kore-sculpturen. Hun glimlach maakt deze vrijstaande beelden van jonge vrouwen uit de Griekse archaïsche periode zo levendig en aanstekelijk. En, ze hadden ook kleur. In de neoklassieke periode classificeerde men kleur als ondergeschikt aan vorm wat tot een ‘ontkleurde’ visie leidde. Vandaag weten we beter: het marmer was gepolychromeerd. Kleur verhoogde niet alleen het realiteitseffect maar bood de Griekse kunstenaars zowel meer symbolische als narratieve mogelijkheden en stelde hen in staat om te karakteriseren.
 
Door haar kleurgebruik schenkt Eline deze vrouwen eveneens karakter en persoonlijkheid. Het past bij haar onderzoek waarin ze de vrouwelijke representatie in kunst en cultuur bevraagt. Een belangrijke voorloper is de fascinerende levensloop en artistieke houding van Claude Cahun (1894-1954) en Marcel Moore (1892-1972). Dit duo (pseudoniemen voor Lucy Schwob en Suzanne Malherbe) weekte de stereotype voorstellingen van de vrouw los uit de kunstcanon en het sociale keurslijf. In hun kunst tonen ze dan ook een andere blik: lief, vertederend, versterkend, aanmoedigend, surrealistisch, elegant, grappig, verfijnd, geniaal, gedurfd, caleidoscopisch en intiem. Maar onder het totalitaire regime van toentertijd was hun kunst ‘entarted’, pure ontaarding - al was het maar voor hun revolutionaire lef om het vraagstuk van transgenderisme aan te snijden.

Stef Van Bellingen










Downtown Borgerhout

The group exhibition Downtown Borgerhout took place from 2 October till 26 October in 't Werkhuys in Antwerp. The participating artists are: Yoko Enoki, Oona Vanderleenen, Faryda Moumouh, Kato Six, Koyuki Kazahaya, Chiara Monteverde and me, Eline De Clercq. You can read more about the exhibition here, or have a look at the exhibition in the photos. In the last photo you can see the addition of the Art Club Borgerhout, including the launch of a local youth centre for visual arts.

Downtown Borgerhout is the second part of a three-part series Downtown Hoboken, Downtown Borgerhout and Downtown Kiel. The series kicked off with an 'open call' in the Permeke Library where visitors were allowed to pose for a portrait in order to give 'the public' a different face. The work 'Downtown Hoboken' emerged from this and is a series of 53 portraits, which show the face of the visitors. Under the same name, the exhibition opened last year where this work was shown for the first time. During the exhibition there were lectures on literature, there were poetry readings and 'spoken word' to make it a participatory event.

 

This year I invited seven artists from Tokyo, Brussels and Antwerp; we created the exhibition Downtown Borgerhout, each showing our individual work. We shifted the center of Antwerp from the old part of town to the periphery. Ways of participation were again sought by establishing the Art Club Borgerhout in collaboration with Fameus and Culture Network Borgerhout, and under the roof of 't Werkhuys. The Art Club Borgerhout adds a piece of the identity of Borgerhout to the exhibition, and will continue to work on a connection between young people and visual arts during the month of October.

 

During this exhibition, free workshops invited the public to join in the creative process. The workshops are taught by the artists and let visitors involve in this exhibition. Because this exhibition was co-formed during the lockdown, a participatory approach was chosen whereby young people are invited to take part in visual arts and the artists receive proper remuneration for the work they do. More diversity in the arts and a fair payment for the artists are the basis for this project.

 

The workshops were given by Zahra Eljadid, Nyiragasigwa Hens, Tramaine de Senna, Chiara Monteverde, Kato Six, Katrin Kamrau and Koyuki Kazahaya.

photo credit © Eline De Clercq
















Downtown Borgerhout


The exhibition will show work by Oona Vanderleenen, Yoko Enoki, Koyuki Kazahaya, Chiara Monteverde, Kato Six, Faryda Moumouh, Eline De Clercq and the Art Club Borgerhout.

The exhibition 'Downtown Borgerhout' will not have a public opening night, instead we ask you to visit during opening hours:

 

Saturday 03 October 14.00 - 18.00 h

Sunday 04 October 14.00  - 18.00 h - workshop by Yoko Enoki and Eline De Clercq  CANCELED due to travel restrictions

 

 

Friday 16 October 14.00 - 18.00 h

Saturday 17 October 14.00 - 18.00 h

Sunday 18 October 14.00 - 18.00 h - workshop Chiara Monteverde at 13 - 17 h and workshop Kato Six from 14 - 17 h

 

 

Friday 23 October 14.00 - 18.00 h - Performance by Chiara Monteverde 20.00 h

Saturday 24 October 14.00 - 18.00 h

Sunday 25 October 14.00 - 18.00 h - workshop by Katrin Kamrau and a workshop by Koyuki Kazahaya  

 

To attend the workshop, please make a reservation via: info@werkhuys.be or 03/4324210



About the artists:

 

Chiara Monteverde is an Italian dancer based in Brussels. She graduated in Art History, at the Università degli Studi di Torino, studied dance in Milan at the DanceHaus Susanna Beltrami. She moved to Brussels in 2016 where she got in touch with artists from different disciplines. Thanks to these new influences she began to find her artistic path between dance and performing arts and collaborated with some young artists to develop Artist Commons, a community that organises public performative events. Chiara worked as a dancer for the Valeria Magli,

Troubleyn / Jan Fabre, “You can call me Page”, “Ne mosquito pas” a project designed by Simon Van Schuylenbergh,

NO SEX NO SOLO” a duo performance made with Sophie Melis, “My name is Goyl” a duo performance with Pierre Patrice Kasses. 

 

How to celebrate Useless Time?
During the Lockdown I went through several stages, I tried to make a plan to use the time of these days, suddenly empty, to do some “useful stuffs” that I was never really having the time to do. But in the end I did a lot of “useless stuffs” that I never planned to do. These things really helped me to find again the connection with myself.
What is it really useful  and what is it useless? Can we somehow define what is useless? And if we can not define it with words can we define it with our gestures, with our bodies in movement or still, with a face expression? We are trained to be focused, useful, productive, competitive and fast. What happens if for one day we train to be unfocused, useless, unproductive,  and slow?
 

 

 

 

 

Koyuki Kazahaya  Lives and works in Brussels, she is a visual artist who uses large scale charcoal drawing, print and movie-sound installation. Kazahaya’s work is about memories, sequences and trails attached to specific locations that have been transformed by human activity and abandoned after natural resources were depleted or a disaster has happened.  Since 2014, she combines landscapes from Japan with desolate landscapes from Belgium, the artificial hills in Genk, the ghost town of Doel in Antwerp, Hell's pool and Forgotten Castle Castillo de Setefilla in Seville. http://koyuki-kazahaya.blogspot.com/

 

Moment, Cherry Blossom 3, 2019

This work is about cherry blossoms in Fukushima. Cherry blossoms are blooming every year even if there is a big change like a disaster happened. I couldn't face on the flowers when the diasater happened in 2011 but after few years I could look at them again. Flowers look like fragile and momentary but time or human life is more transitory and impermanent. I have been working about the issue of Fukushima's disaster and since 2012 till now I’m still visiting same places every year to keep a log.

 

 

 




Oona Vanderleenen lives and works in Antwerp, Oona grew up in an environment where art, design, literature and music play an important role. She paints as if painting is evident, but she chooses not to study art, or become an artist. When she paints she doesn't feel the need to achieve something, and this is visible in her work, the playfulness and freedom that seem so easy is something most artists can only dream of. Oona is currently working on her studies.

 

 

Faryda Moumouh works as an artist with the photographic image. She finished her studies as a Master in audiovisual and visual arts, with an extracurricular 'Open Atelier' at School of Arts St. Lucas Antwerp. Her identity took shape against a multicultural background, with both Moroccan and Belgian influences, resulting in a divers unique style. With her camera she approaches her direct surroundings, she's passionate about the human condition and the philosophy of existentialism and her big inspiration Jean Paul Sartre.   www.faryda.com

 

Inner Grounds, 2019
 

How memories and experiences in the world are creating your inner space, inner identity. It is a connection between the world outside and the world inside. That’s the ground or the basic we start from. It is an inner identity – connected with everything around the subject. An existential view of existence. Solitude and endless time, walking around with open eyes and mind. Feeling connected with myself and the surrounding, my camera as companion and catch it with my camera. Taking those photographs is a start to sketch in Photoshop to recreate a new language or narrative. By creating new images, layered in one. A selfportrait from the inside out.


 

 

 

 

Kato Six In her artistic practice Kato Six employs familiar material culture to reconfigure the ways we make ourselves at home in the world. Through an explorative approach and a rich breadth of material and processes, she makes sculptural interventions that engage with the margins of space and grapple with the limits and possibilities of form and design. Next to a deep interest in textiles and carpentry, her main material interests are ‘natural’ products like different kinds of stone, plants, landscapes and other outdoor experiences that we see reproduced in the interior space we live in. www.katosix.be


Kato Six

The objects and drawings she makes are in one way references to a piece of furniture or clothing and in another way they are spatial interventions investigating our always-mediated relation to our surroundings. Her workshop will focus on drawing and writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoko Enoki Lives and works in Yokosuka, Japan. Her art works start from the written text. The narrative is always an important factor in her works.  These days she paints portraits.  Fictional stories come out from the very normal faces which she paints. She acts as an observer and writer to where these stories can take her. Her work was shown at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. WIELS  Projectruimte Brussels; BankART, Yokohama. Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery: Arts Maebashi, Beijing International Art Biennale, and Gendai Heights -Gallery Den5.
 www.yokoenoki.com

 

The first school day
size:318×410cm 2020
 

"I was looking at children when there was the lock down in Japan due to Covid-19. Children who usually go to school, cram school or sports clubs suddenly showed up all over town. At the start children gathered in the corners of park, playing TV games, and they rushed out into nature little by little, in the end they were singing in the rain on the weekend, just before school began. What a freedom. Each one has so much energy, holding their own world , running around. A so-called "Hope" sometimes appears in the form of a person."


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

コロナ禍の中、私は子供を眺めていました。今まで、学校や塾やスポーツセンターに閉じ込められていた子供たちは突然町中に現れました。
公園の屋根の下に集まってテレビゲームをしていた子供たちは少しづつ自然の中で駆け出し、学校の始まる前の最後の週末には雨の中で歌を歌っていました。
そのなんと自由なこと。一人一人がその中に広大な世界をかかえ、元気よく飛び回っています。
希望っていうのは人の形をとって現れることもあるんですね。
 
今回の作品はコロナ禍の子供たちを観察して描きました。
コロナが緩んだら、この子供たちのお話を聞きたい。私にお話をしてくれないかしらと思っていたところ、ワークショップの機会を頂くことができました。お話ししてくれる子供たち集まれ!あなたのみている世界の話をしてください。
 

 

Eline De Clercq lives and works in Antwerp. She used to come to Tokyo quite often and the Japanese culture influenced her style of drawing and painting, the imperfection of a human touch is combined with the rich Flemish art history. Eline paints colourful portraits of women and trees. Her series show women from different sources, like fashion models, classic literature, magazine shoots and historical paintings. Her subject is ‘caducity’, when nothing is in the right place. Her paintings are warm, almost careless, expressive and optimistic. 

 


'Downtown Borgerhout' is een reeks portretten van de vrouwen die in de Permeke bibliotheek materiaal ontlenen, ze zijn het gezicht van de mensen die kiezen voor cultuur. Het idee voor deze reeks is ontstaan uit de kinderboeken die in de jaren 70 werden getekend, en waarin er werd gerecycleerd, geknutseld, toneel gespeeld, en alle soorten kinderen speelden mooi samen. Deze portretten zijn eenvoudig, toegankelijk en duidelijk en laten een stukje van onze samenleving zien in een schilderij.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Art Club Borgerhout Founded by Eline De Clercq, this Art Club is a new initiative on inclusive visual arts. Weekly Tuesday meetings with local youths are used to self organise and create a direct connection with artists and the local art scene. A session in the art club consists of an introduction to art techniques (drawing, painting, sculpting etc) art history today (herstory, inclusivity, new canon, decolonisation) mapping the interests and needs, writing a program of art visits, learning Dutch, looking into education options, strengthening a C.V. and meeting like minded people. This initiative got support from the city of Antwerp.

artclubborgerhout.blogspot.com 

 

 




 

 
With the kind support of the city of Antwerp




Sculptures with painting, the Kore Portraits, oil paint on linen, 50x30cm, 2020

These paintings are an invitation to look at 'our' European art history, and how the white washing of sculptures was part of the construction of an European identity. The view in these portraits is to see these Kore sculptures of women with your imagination, and see the way they were meant to be part of a culture that used colours. 

Kore means 'daughter', and a woman in Archaic times was either a daughter or a wife, she didn't have an independent status. At the time, some 2600 years ago, this new Greek culture of monogamy and patriarchy changed the role of women in art.

Oil on linen, 50 x 30 cm, 2020.





 




 






Study for sculpture with painting, coloured Kore portraits. 2020

These studies on paper are searching for ways to present the classic kore sculptures in colour. The white stone surface is replaced by an imagined coloured portrait.

Oil paint on paper, 46 x36 cm, 2020










Oil paint on paper, A4, 2020





 


 

Oil paint on wood-board, 30 x 20 cm, 2020