Hans Theys – the duplicity of live. A conversation with Johan Clarysse

The third aspect in the work of Johan Clarysse to which I want to draw attention is the painterly aspect that in recent years more often comes forward, not as an increasing virtuosity but more as a growing conscience of what it means to make paintings: objects with distinctive features that destabilize and at the same time empower the image. Read more

Willem Elias – Johan Clarysse, an introduction.

From his first exhibitions onward he was remarkably present and found an immediate and rather general appreciation. Anyhow he certainly stands my test of professionalism, namely that without any additional information one can recognize his work. A ‘Johan Clarysse’ is clearly a ‘Johan Clarysse’. This tautological metonymy is fully valid: only from his images one can derive the hand which is the driving motor of his mind and emotions. Read more

Isabelle De Baets – Johan Clarysse’s fixation on the gaze

Johan Clarysse thoroughly deals with the tensions that contentwise and on the plastic level create the specific character of his work. His existential view on man is essential. For Clarysse man is a complex and ambiguous creature whose underlying motives, longings and needs can never be caught and understood entirely. (He is convinced that however hard one tries to know and comprehend the other there will always be something that escapes). In the plastic ambiguity of his paintings Clarysse shows this permanent ambiguity of man. Read more

Marc Ruyters – The One and the Other

‘Is evil of great importance to the good?’, a question covering a painting by Johan Clarysse can be rightly interpreted as a key to his work. This doesn’t mean that Clarysse can be attributed with moral intentions ( although his philosophical training is unmistakenly present in his work) but the artist likes to put things and concepts in opposition ; sometimes it even looks a bit obsessional. Good against evil but also figuration against monochrome,( surely in his former works),image versus text, film versus painting, editing versus still, colour versus black and white, etc. Read more

Stef Van Bellingen – Alle Lust will Ewigkeit

In the paintings of Johan Clarysse the difference in nuance between ‘seeing’ and ‘perceiving’ becomes obvious. They are to be situated on another level of consciousness. Perceiving is not an act without engagement, it is very closely linked to thinking. In his paintings Clarysse stimulates this process of looking by materializing it. To be and creating sense follow each other closely but are on the verge of an existential ravine. This is related to his imagery. Read more

Patrick Allegaert – The art of doubting

‘Suspicious’ refers to strange, suspect, and the photographs that he studied in the museum library are only one of his sources of inspiration for this series of portraits. Also portraits of relatives and friends, next to artists like Lars von Trier, the outsider artist Willem Van Genk, and the writer-philosopher Slavoj Zizek all form the starting point of this series. What they all have in common is that are famous or not famous, notorious or unknown, and they all seem to have something warped. Each time they are about people who – through their expression, pose or action – do not belong to the mainstream, they radiate something very fascinating. Read more

Joannes  Késenne – How does the language of nature sound            

If only nature could talk, what would humankind be able to get to hear from it? Of course this is a surreal question. However, this question presses itself on me when I am confronted with the series Suspicious Landscapes by Johan Clarysse. We know that nature is as silent as the grave. And this may be the reason why throughout its impressive history, landscape painting has continuously tried to make nature speak: from Giorgione and Titian, and then Tintoretto, Poussin, Lorrain, Turner, Constable, to Friedrich and Cézanne...Read more