THE UNPERCEIVED PAST, PIERRE ALECHINSKY, 1981

Try to find the piece!

Immediately surprising are the black and white details that frame the central plane of the painting. Can they be detected in the central coloured field? Is it a puzzle or are they maybe letters from an imagined alphabet that constitute a visual phrase in the middle?

The CoBrA  movement (created by artist from Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam), which Alechinsky joined, was an art collective experimenting within literature and visual arts. The movement lasted from 1948 to 1951, permeated from the terrible experience of the war they wish to realize their ideal of a better society through artistic forms that they consider the least contaminated by conventions like prehistoric art, the creations of children writing or calligraphy. The use of ink in Alechinskys painting links to calligraphy, where the mastery in writing characters is an artistic practice in it’s own right. The artists from the group sometimes referred to their work as word painting.

Alechinky was fascinated by the calligraphy practice, which still relates to real text. In his painting he creates therefore this phantasy pictoral language, which partly also still contains images from the real world, like here the Carnaval de Binche. Looking close, one can discover the feathered hats, chimneys, stairs and eyes looking at the viewer or into the artists blurred memories of his past spent in Belgium.

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