Staged Views

untitled
acrylic on linen, 40 x 30 cm, 2015
untitled
acrylic on linen, 40 x 30 cm, 2015
untitled
acrylic on linen, 50 x 40 cm, 2015
untitled
acrylic on linen, 50 x 40 cm, 2015
untitled
acrylic on linen, 50 x 40 cm, 2015
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Staged Views

 

The Staged views is a series of subtly framed views, each consisting of a fore and background separated by a crevasse of sorts. In the foreground, there are slender trunks of trees that, here again, create a sense of depth. They are not really realistic, but rather mythical or prototypical. Trees as they mainly exist in our minds. Afterimages or examples of trees. Certain details (such as the bark of birch trunks) are faithfully rendered. Elsewhere, the tree appears in a schematic, almost drawn form. At times there are needles, at others foliage and exceptionally the occasional palm tree. These are would-be trees, the kind that is more likely to be found on a film or stage set. Peters, with a clear nod to Magritte, seems to want to say: ‘Ceci n'est pas un arbre’ (This is not e tree). Nor does this work seek to thematise the view or the landscape. These only form a pretext for an original play on the landscape genre or a painterly discussion on its conventions, commented upon, subverted and transgressed by Peters.

The sfumato background looks like a painted panel that hovers between biomorphic abstraction and 'l'informe’ (formlessness). Figuration, here, as it were imposes an image ex cathedra upon the passive spectator, while the level of abstraction always creates a greater or lesser degree of interaction. The viewer is invited to join in the play or step into the illusion (Lat. in-lusio). Ideally, the artist/artwork and the art lover come together in a joint (ad) venture. It is the replication of the dreaming and thinking couple personified in the mother/muse and child /creator. Just like clouds, Peters' background makes for a perfect plane of projection (similar to the famous butterfly-shaped Rorschach blots). The colouring is natural, interspersed with urban elements. Occasionally, the indistinct forms create the suggestion of a rural, yet inhabited world. A real horizon cannot be distinguished. The sky, to the extent that it is present, blends into the earth or the water. The colours and the light at times refer to daytime, at others to dusk. These are scenes from and for all seasons: seven in number from as many (so it seems) points of the compass. The air, however, is placid. There is no incident light, there are no shadows. The only constant is the filtered artificial or northern light in the studio.

As stated by René Char, the scientist searches for proof, the artist for traces. Stefan Peters, however, finds traces or better: he makes traces. As in the previous series, the human figure remains absent, but the trees have acquired an anthropomorphic air. They appear as protagonists on the stage. The paintings refer as much to a still life or group portrait as to a landscape. They also evoke a sense of a past or yet to occur psychodrama. The trees, then, act as parted curtains that offer the viewer a glimpse onto a stage. He explores the fore and background, and tries to discern whether there is something, rather than nothing(ness) in the divide between them. It is, however, impossible to determine. Large and sometimes turbulent sweeps create the necessary veil. It is an allusion to the alchemists: what is important here is to increase the sense of mystery. At times, we appear to be somewhere in the Mediterranean, at others, we find ourselves in Twin Peaks or the Black Forest. Forever on the road, we have halted somewhere on the side. It is said that there is a view to be admired. One of the views presents a snowy winter landscape. Or is it rather the static that used to appear, sometimes, suddenly, on our TV screens? Right at the moment when the drama was about to unfold, the crime reached its denouement, or when witnesses were finally about to break their stubborn silence about the true facts?

 

Mark Kinet (psychiatrist, psychoanalyst)

www.markkinet.be