The Belgian artist Robert Devriendt (b. 1955) is known for his meticulous small paintings. With a keen eye for detail, for tactile rendering and with a refined technique, he investigates how images work and how they come to be interpreted.

This inaugural exhibition at Baronian Xippas gallery presents Through the eyes of David X, the second part of The Missing Script, an ongoing project where all paintings are related to each other. The first part, entitled Blind Seduction, was presented at Albert Baronian in 2017. David X is one of the favourite alter egos of Robert Devriendt. As the artist states: ‘When I look with the eyes of this fictional character, images arise that are as urgent as the contents of dreams. These images do not correspond to politically or ethically correct standards, but can be described as meta-romantic.’

The paintings of Robert Devriendt combine cinematic qualities with the pure craft of painting. Both his editing technique and imagery are at least partly reminiscent of film as he employs codes typical of that medium. The artist arranges the paintings like a director would order scenes to tell a story. The paintings draw their force from the mutual combinations, associations which connect them. It is the sequence which determines the contents of the images. What occurs between the images is therefore particularly important.

Because the artist wants to examine our way of looking, he returns to these cinematic elements. By freezing the images the viewer is given time to look in depth. The selections, cuts and repetitions add another dimension to everyday reality. In doing so, The Missing Script is trying to figure out how the relentless flood of imagery presents itself to our thoughts and way of thinking, even to our perception in general. Robert Devriendt exposes how to be detached from today’s constant flow of stories, how to select certain tracks, to filter and put them in a different context to create our own history; a dramatic story open to interpretation.

The Missing Script is a large ongoing series the artist has developed over the span of several years. There is no fixed script. The images in The Missing Script aren’t arranged chronologically, the paintings do not follow a logical order as they would in a well outlined plot. Instead, they are numbered according to their completion date. Possible storylines arise during painting through meticulous combining and staging of the characters on set. And eventually, it is the viewer who gradually fills in the script. The result is a movie that plays out in the viewer’s head.


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