S.M.A.K. opens the first major retrospective dedicated to the work of Belgian artist Philippe Van Snick
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S.M.A.K. opens the first major retrospective dedicated to the work of Belgian artist Philippe Van Snick
Philippe Van Snick, Lingots, 1993. Private Collection.

GHENT.- S.M.A.K. opens the first major retrospective dedicated to the work of Belgian artist Philippe Van Snick since his death in 2019. dynamic project occupies ten museum galleries as a reference to the decimal system (0-9) that is intrinsic to Van Snick’s wideranging oeuvre. Key works are shown alongside surprising, lesser-known ones.

The exhibition is conceived by curators Marta Mestre and Luk Lambrecht as a walk through his work: past his first sculptural analyses of time and space, conceptual photographs, and also short films and paintings.

Special attention is paid to Philippe Van Snick’s numerous, permanent and innovative public art projects, while limited-edition editions, magazines and unique documents also feature, the majority of which have never previously been exhibited. Emphasis is also placed on Van Snick’s intimate living environment in Brussels, his garden and home in France, and his lifelong fascination with the beautiful cycles and structures of nature.

Van Snick integrated a varying system into his methodology, one that is both mathematical and poetic in nature. As early as the 1970s, he developed his own alphabet consisting of the ten numbers (0-9) and a consistent, clear, ten-colour palette.

This colour scheme includes primary colours (red, yellow and blue), secondary colours (orange, green and violet), non-colours (white and black) and material colours (gold and silver). He later added light blue. Van Snick used materials and techniques economically in favour of a concentrated visual language. He observed the complexity of life and the world around him and translated his insights and reflections into simplified images. It is almost impossible to categorise his work due to the urge for freedom, openness and non-conformism that it expresses.

Philippe Van Snick’s oeuvre shows no abrupt stylistic breaks. It is more a meandering process of reflection in which his intentions become visible. His works are characterised by a personal note, an understated artistic gesture and the echo of vulnerability. He instinctively played with natural elements in his work, which he complemented with geometric interventions.

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