1953 in Aalst, Belgium
1969 - 1973 | Art & crafts /SASK/ Aalst
1973-1977 | Grafics/ KASK / Gent
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
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
through the Italian Renaissance. It is meticulously developed and textured as
layers of archeological digs. His technique is perfect and pure, full of
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
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
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
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
Anima, androgynous, or bisexual.
Their eyes silently closed in frozen communication.
The grane of marble, carnation.
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.
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
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