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biohistory (ENG)

Born
1953 in Aalst, Belgium

Training
1969 - 1973 | Art & crafts /SASK/ Aalst
1973-1977 | Grafics/ KASK / Gent

Preface
Even at a first approach of Paul De Rijck's work, you realize: ‘This is magic’. It takes you along on a travel throughout time and space, where the distinctions between matter and emotion no longer exist. Whoever is captivated by the essence of things and not satisfied by the answers given by the traditional systems of science or religion, is invited on a journey full of surprises, and yet full of recognition.
De Rijck’s paintings confront every spectator with questions, with dreams and desires. With powers that penetrate the mind and, after the violent shock of confrontation, with the peace of love. You undergo the attraction of the philosopher, of the artist who feels, who bears, who ‘knows’ the world view, long before it became common property. His technical professionalism combined with the metaphors of his vision, at first sight do have a strange effect on the spectator: they make him feel confused and embarrassed since they confront him with his deepest self. Maybe he’ll keep distance after the confrontation, for not everybody is capable of penetrating to the essence of things. Those however who succeed, enter into a fascinating universe, for ever unfinished but always creating new possibilities.

De Rijck is trying to keep his balance on the edge, in the twilight zone: his force is the vision, a vision in which the traditional definitions of past and future, of fiction and reality don’t fit. The paintings don’t fit in any category. They force those who wonder why and where, to think... These questions do not only concern the artist, but also the scientist and the philosopher. In his search for the beginning and the end of cosmical reality, the modern scientist doesn’t reject the paradigm of the artist’s imagination. Having a closer look at some paintings, you’ll notice that the association with modern cosmology is evident. And maybe the ‘mysterious anomalies’ are tomorrow’s future...

Looking at De Rijck’s paintings is looking at technical mastership. De Rijck is plastic art. He expresses his inner experience and emotion in a style referring to the ancient masters, which is delightful.

The figure and the landscape have a central position in his work. The landscape is not just a landscape, it is more than an objective reality. It’s an expression, an interpretation, an inner force field. ‘Inner homelands’, De Rijck uses to call them. In these homelands he constructs a special world of his own, a virtual reality of other dimensions, though vision and reality have more common grounds than one could believe.
The figures are tender and soft, and yet they express the force of the pure. Their attitude is melancholy, because of their knowledge or their expectations? Finally it’s up to you to decide. The work explicitely refuses fatalism, refuses also to be cynic. It is, on the contrary, highly moving, an invitation to a deeper reflection. - Rudi De Koker-

Read what Bedet Simon, art historian, has to say about De Rijck's work:

A MYSTERIOUS AND LONELY POETRY

What inspires Paul De Rijck to paint such strange beings and landscapes?
Is he a moralist? An alchemist? A visionary? A dreamer? A mystic?
Or is he just a traveller, a nomad through the ages?
His work struggles with the dominant development of contemporary art.
It has its own parameters.
He seems a sorcerer, an exorcist,
with oracles and prophecies,
with visions of heaven and hell,
with the unmoving but sublime beauty of his figures.

THE BOTTOMLESS MELANCHOLY

Paul De Rijck makes his own tracks, across the history of art.
His style creates an anti-world that journeys from the Middle Ages to the baroque,
through the Italian Renaissance. It is meticulously developed and textured as the
layers of archeological digs. His technique is perfect and pure, full of detail,
worthy of the Flemish Primitives and the Renaissance painters.

Paul De Rijck’s universe provides a treshold between the physical and spiritual world.
In this no man’s land, everything can happen.
The artist is forced by a premonition of calamity and doom,
intensified by the malaise of the fin the siècle (turn of the century),
to look for answers in his own mind. His art is sensual as well as imaginative.
The artist wants to reunite the inner reality with the reality of the world and of nature,
as a reunion of body and soul, matter and spirit.

This being and anti-being (being against) brings alive things that cause resentment.
Paramnesia frightens and there is too much fear in this world.
Fear is a dominating factor which keeps the spectator from drawing conclusions
about art and applying them to his own life.
The world is nothing but chaos. Thus it has always been.
Transcendental art can transform earthly banality into an undefined free-making spirituality.
The fantastic figuration is Paul De Rijck’s means to broaden reality and
to deepen its experience. The artist calls upon the ethics of the spectator by
confronting him with a necessary choice.
The fantastic fights against the small-mindedness of existence and
of corporal and spiritual limitations.
It sharpens the senses and creates the necessary philosophical nuances.
Fantastic art is both anachronistic and visionary.
It elucidates and emphasizes the two extremes of life;

Heaven and hell,
the past and the future,
good and evil,
light and shadow...
In between them reality moves.
It admonishes us and warns that the balance of life is extremely precarious.
But infinity is the source of everything.
It helps us to overcome the fear of imperfection and finiteness of life, and to fathom evil.
It expresses its unease and at the same time announces change.
The dark and negative sides of man ("evil") are destructive and
should be integrated in the psyche and made available for more elevated aims.
Thus "elevated" they turn into their opposite.

The artist Paul Klee did also realize that evil is a necessity that can’t be neglected: "Even evil shouldn’t be a triomphant or a degrading enemy, but a power, participating in the whole." (W. Haftmann, Paul Klee, p. 71.) The visionary constructions of Paul De Rijck enchant and fascinate.
He brings pantheism back to live. His images look like hallucinations. He creates his own world, where endless shapes of landscape, man and animal, demon and fairy, centaur, Chimaera and others get viscerally and inextricably intertangled. Everything has a double meaning. Time has stopped. Fate becomes totem and omen..

The women in his paintings are fairies of despair.
Anima, androgynous, or bisexual.
Their eyes silently closed in frozen communication.
The grane of marble, carnation.
Immobile silence.
Their passivity hints at action.
Nudity conceals a lot.
Veins suck lifeblood.
The chaos of the mind escapes itself and earth.
They look for a hole in the seam of time.
Escape from time.
Motionless nomads beyond borders.
Escatological.
Travellers of zero-hour.
Paradigm or paradox.

Feeling and reason create a magnetic field between euphoria and despair, between domination and submission.
However demonical , even satanical, these figures may look, they personify poetry and exaltation; and they often link miracle and the sublime with humour.
Mythical animals symbolize the awakening of the animal and human sides of the soul.
The animal is alienated from its true nature. Civilized man must control, heal and accept his animal impulses.
‘Man’ and ‘animal’ live in impossible worlds. They exist motionless in a twilight zone where the eternal struggle between ligt and shadow makes its own laws. The waves of that sea of light, born from an invisible source beyond the horizon, feed the emotional force field and intensify the visual dynamics. Though life breeds and gushes underneath, this world is extinct, silent, solidified, and man has no place there.

Is there nobody but myself?

Bedet Simon -kunsthistorica-  

Translation : K. De Vuyst & G. Krickx