I came in contact with the work of Els Ceulemans through the organisation Kunst in Huis. First time seeing her work, left me in a state of confusion. The amount of different elements that are present in her work, will take your eyes on a journey from one corner of the work to the other one. There’s so much to see that you just don’t know where to look.
She uses recognizable and figurative shapes, but there’s still a form of alienation. This form of alienation is caused by her use of proportions, this combined with all different additions and combinations of atypical elements. It starts with a sense of familiarity onto a sense of alienation and confusion. This is what attracts me to her work, it makes me think, it makes me look for all the hidden elements that I didn’t notice the first time I looked at the work.
You might think that the work suggest one story, but that’s not completely true. It’s a construction of different elements from different stories. Through merging these all together you get a visualisation of thoughts, visions and emotions. (As said on her website )
Not only her use of various elements appealed to me, but also her way of painting. The small suggestions she paints to create a figure or an object, without all to many details. When you look at the paintings from a distance you experience them in a very different way than up close.
Some of her work is based on autobiographical facts, but this isn’t always the case. In her autobiographical works she tries to maintain a connection with the outside world, with the social occurences. In her more recent work she focusses on the theme of how a human relates to another human, to society. More specific on how he tries to stand his ground, and which strategies he uses doing so.
Then one last thing, not only her paintings were exhibited, but also a few of her drawings. I was more drawn to the paintings because of the larger number of elements and the colours. The greenish blue and the shades of grey.
Her work reminds me of Neo Rauch and Gideon Kiefer. They have a similar use of various elements and alienation. The (indirect) influence is there, but her own imagery is clearly present.
If you want to know more about this Belgian artist, feel free to visit her website