Michiel Ceulers: Rien De Plus Qu’Un Théâtre D’Idées Fluctuantes
Et Des Échos De Développements Futurs
— The Arts Club, London

Installation View: Michiel Ceulers, The Arts Club

Michiel Ceulers, Comment Tuer l’Amant de Sa Femme Quand on a Été Élevé Comme Moi dans La Tradition? 2013 – 2014, Oil spray paint and collage on canvas, 200 x 180 cm

Michiel Ceulers , Der Charme einer vorbeigehenden Frau steht in der Regel in direktem Zusammenhang mit der Geschwindigkeit Ihrer Bewegung, 2013 – 2014, Oil spray paint and collage on canvas, 250 x 200cm

Michiel Ceulers, Rien de plus qu’un théâtre d’idées fluctuantes et des échos de développements futurs, 2013 – 2014, Oil spray paint and collage on canvas, 250 x 200cm

Michiel Ceulers, An attempt to linguistically jeopardise the raison d’etre of art, 2009 – 2014, Collage: oil spray paint, acrylic, staplers, wood glue, collage on canvas, 100 x 270 cm

Installation View: Michiel Ceulers, The Arts Club

Installation View: Michiel Ceulers, The Arts Club


Installation View: Michiel Ceulers, The Arts Club

Emerging Belgian artist Michiel Ceulers pushes the boundaries of painting tradition with his experimental approach to abstractions, from tactile grids to shaped canvases and collages. Ceulers’ process incorporates both predetermined and random marks and gestures, as well as such mistreatments as sanding, puncturing and tearing. He describes his practice as setting out choreographies that incorporate improvisation.

Ceulers is intensely aware of painting’s long history and seeks to strip his works of the baggage that comes with it. Discussing his grid paintings he has said: “I am interested in the possibilities of abstract painting because it is politically dead. It failed. It’s like the idea of Malevich going from the peasants to the black square, then going back again. So there is not really much to say, you are already at that point of zero degrees, which I think is really interesting to work with.”

For his show at The Arts Club Ceulers has created a new series of grid paintings which he refers to as ‘Two Face’ paintings. These works consist of the collaging together of two different grid paintings on the same picture field. The works should be seen as the joining of two related paintings together. While a likeness to the two-faced villain from Batman is apparent in the work, one can also see them as the meeting of two parts, in an almost Brancusi-like kiss.

In his collages Ceulers is interested in bringing together different parts of paintings, made over several years. The rough surfaces highlight the decay and the scars that came from their wanderings around the artist’s studio. Ceulers describes these collages as special. For the artist they are an attempt to retrace his activities in the studio, a record of the residues that his movements generated.

Playing with meaning and interpretation, Ceulers often uses long-phrased titles – philosophical statements, song lyrics, movie quotes or bon mots – as an attempt to narrate abstraction, to lead or mislead the gazing eye of the beholder or simply to try to linguistically translate the idea of mark making. These include I’ve Got A Vision of Nature Implanted in my Brain / Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, or My name is not a game (Old school), or, for a disjointed diptych, A Little Less Conversation – and one gets the sense that the artist is teasing the very nature of abstraction.

Born in 1986 in Waregem, Belgium, Ceulers did his MA in Painting at KASK, Ghent and thereafter completed a two year residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Ceulers now lives in Berlin and had recent shows in Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Bonnefanten museum Maastricht, Nougeras Blanchard in Madrid and Mihai Nicodim in Los Angeles.

The exhibition is curated by Amelie von Wedel and Pernilla Holmes of Wedel Art.