KIOSK presents Territorium by Philippe Van Snick (1946-2019), an exhibition that can be regarded as an homage to the recently deceased artist whose work made an important contribution to artistic developments in Belgium. The show grew out of an intense dialogue with the artist, his family, KASK teacher Gert Robijns and his students of installation art, and Wim Waelput, curator and director of KIOSK.
The collaboration with KIOSK started in 2016, when Van Snick and four other artists were selected to present a proposal for the Belgian pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Although Territorium, the proposal submitted by Van Snick and Waelput was eventually not selected, it did become the blueprint for the current exhibition. The proposal included a unique synthesis of Van Snick's fifty-year-old artistic practice. It contained all his characteristic elements — including, for instance, the systematic colour and formal principles, and a minimal, abstract visual language — in a way that emphatically responded to the pavilion’s architecture.
In close deliberation, an appropriate “transfer” of form and content to the KIOSK space was developed, to be realized eventually by a group of students. This was an explicit request by Van Snick, who himself graduated from Pierre Vlerick’s etching class at KASK and who had often before realized exhibitions together with students. The experience of these previous projects, together with the detailed designs and scale model left by the artist were the starting points of the current realization, or perhaps they functioned rather as “misleading instructions”, as Van Snick used to say.
To Luk Lambrecht, who has worked with the artist for earlier exhibitions and who will curate a retrospective at SMAK in the fall of 2021 collaborating and inviting students for Van Snick represents “the objective of navigating to the very heart and soul of his practice in the context of the infinite possibilities of colour by experiencing, in the reflections of the light, precisely and concretely the infinite number of ways of applying paint and mixing colours. (…) To Philippe Van Snick, collaborating meant sharing time and space and letting these intersecting coordinates dance on the infinite, shaky tightrope of artistic freedom. This means that art can never be the emanation of that which the artist intentionally keeps in mind; not to himself, and not to others.”
Painting was a steady reference in Van Snick’s body of work. In Territorium, the painted image develops its meaning in relationship with the architectural context and the visitor’s physical experience of space. The exhibition space will be filled with sculptural work, painting, and a monumental architectural installation in the central dome room. The construction is called Dorp (‘village’) and consists of six separate wooden modules, functioning as a single monumental spatial canvas, painted with Van Snick’s characteristic duos of colour fields.
As such, the exhibition reveals itself as a total installation that explores the material and spatial boundaries of painting, sculpture, and architecture. Van Snick invites visitors to walk this spatial landscape of form and colour, tactility and atmosphere, and to give themselves over to the experience.