Pieter Jennes Gallery Sofie Van de Velde
Pieter JennesGallery Sofie Van de Velde
Installation view of I can tell you stories. Copyright Gallery Sofie Van de Velde




Gallery Sofie Van de Velde presents a selection of works by Pieter Jennes



Pieter Jennes (°1990) paints scenes that are reminiscent of folklore or comic theater performances. His Dionysian dancers set up all possible faces. They wear masks of drunkenness, horror, boredom, or shame or apathy. Serious and playful, hard and disarming, threatening and seductive. It is in the gaze of Pieter Jennes, it is the world of his paintings.


It’s often the case for Jennes that a painting turns out differently than it was originally conceived. He doesn’t do sketches, preferring to find out what works directly on the canvas. “If I don’t like it, I just paint over it”, he says. This results in multiple layers, which give his paintings texture, tac-tility. “I find that skin of paint really important. You can feel it, with your eyes.”


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“I like letting go of perspective. It affords a lot of freedom. I like the Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov for the same reason: he films everything from the front. He directs films as if they are theatre.”






The tiger somewhat resembling a leopard, the horse being somewhat deformed and the general lack of perspective make the painting rather reminiscent of De circustent (The circus tent) by the painter and graphic artist Edgard Tytgat (1879-1957), whose work Jennes admires. In De circustent, Tytgat – whose early work was characterised as impressionist but who would later be described as an expressionist or naïve painter – depicts a zebra that is scarcely recognisable as such. “Tytgat paints kind of clumsily”, says Jennes. “I think he’s brilliant”.





The painting becomes a stage. In this way, Jennes creates a meta-layer by duplicating the audience: we, the viewer, are watching people who are watching other people. The gaze and the act of viewing itself become a subject of the painting.





Inspired by painting, cinema and his own neighbourhood, Pieter Jennes is thus the creator of a highly unique oeuvre. His very recognisable personal style draws on the work of Flemish painters from the 1920s, such as Jean Brusselmans and Gustave De Smet, but also Ensor, Otto Dix or Georg Grosz, African masks and folklore, the cinema of David Lynch and Werner Herzog.












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