Espacer: To spatialize. This verb describes the essence of Bart Vandevijvere's paintings. It suggests spatiality and incorporates time. The dimension of space (or a suggestion thereof) is characteristic for the visual arts, while music unfolds itself in time. The desire to fuse both qualities in one medium is obvious throughout Vandevijvere's art. Most pieces refer to musical idioms or composers, emphasizing the syntactic exploration rather than any narrative. The self-referential character of the work involves the viewer in the artist’s process. Thus, narrative is absorbed by the sheer act of painting. The pictorial process organizes the story, it steers the plot, and it coincides with it.
This has a clear affiliation with the art of music, where the supremacy of the melody is opened up to other musical parameters. Conscious listening is a necessity here; acoustic pleasure requires an effort that stretches beyond decorative enjoyment. A similar attitude is essential for Vandevijvere's paintings; they invite us to participate in the complex process of perception. Within the boundaries of the painting, Vandevijvere tries to make invisible musical associations visible through the continuity of forms as well as the possibility of caesura.
Some composers start from mathematical organization; deviation is decided by intuition. Likewise, in Bart Vandevijvere’s geometric and linear patterns, regularity is interrupted by the introduction of time. His art resembles an archaeological excavation in which a temporal dimension emerges from the traces of paint. Igneous paint and liquid pouring often delay movement. Accelerations occur because the wet surface dictates all motion from the outset as the artist tilts the canvas in different directions until the energetic stream reaches equilibrium.
These manipulations add up to a varying depth in the pictorial layers, which resembles the minimal definition of sound: “a change in air density.” The variations in density open up new potential for the drought process. In an unsuitable environment (either too hot or too cold), cracks appear in the skin of the paint, thereby exposing the underpainting. These deep layers maintain a diverse relationship with the other layers, due to liquidity, luster, and transparency. Or scraping and washing away reveals them. Some elements are, indeed, hidden, but they constitute the concealed cause of the visible parts. Tension and friction are thus incorporated. The artist consciously deals with the physical conditions in which the paint sometimes stubbornly executes its wills and limitations.
The peculiar possibilities of structuring with regard to aleatoric organization are critical to Bart Vandevijvere's fundamental starting point. The way he reshapes the essence and the identity of the art in a truly distinctive voice constitutes the significance of his remarkable style.
Stef Van Bellingen, 2016
Uphill, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 160 x 130 cm
Cubes for Joachim Kühn, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 160 x 130 cm
The Garden Painting Session (Painterly Climbing), 2016, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 150 cm