Tom Van Puyvelde
An execution in filmic moments, close to the staggering, quick succession of thousands of a second, a rotating and chronological becoming that nevertheless seems relaxed and fluent, timeless and unrepeatable, servile and gradually turning visceral. To lose oneself in Tom Van Puyvelde’s canvases means to surrender to the delicacy and intensity of an evanescence outside time. That is precisely why it is impossible to really speak of a direct correlation between Van Puyvelde’s work and the world of the moving image, because the variability—which is indeed minimal and only hinted at—does not confront us with changes of state that refer to a single action, but rather to variations of worlds, to openings towards the ancestral, to thresholds of a possible reality, as well as atmospheric transmutations and tremors of the soul. We could compare Van Puyvelde’s approach to painting to an instinctive, all-encompassing vision, a careful and patient observation of a small plot of land where every is silent, but where everything is happening at once, where the wind varies, the lights move, and where that which often remains in its place suddenly seems to be no longer there.
The brush stroke rules, a light but decisive gesture that is accompanied by the evanescent colours and morphology of the shadow. Here, real looking turns into something subtle and acute. Here, the visual liminal apophony becomes the undisputed protagonist thanks to an aesthetic criterion that calls everything into question. At the same time, the continuity of gradations is first subdivided and then turned upside down by means of a gestural expressiveness that becomes more and more universally refined and solemnly rarefied.
This stylistic research is made possible by Van Puyvelde’s technique. It is thanks to this technique that everything happens and manifests itself, as it allows the energetic tension that flows from the previous image to show itself in this process of intuitive and complacent choices that results in subtle variations. These variables are presented here as independent from each other. Yet, they are intertwined, woven together from an underlying theme that can be traced back not merely to the form, but in the first place to a common breath that reveals itself constantly in the rhythm of infinitely deep sighs of different durations. Where then is the border between an image and a painting, between a mood and a painting? Is it perhaps not true that every state of feeling is affected by multiple variables and composite stratifications? Now, here is this place without barriers Van Puyvelde’s fierce brushstrokes reach out for—a place that is situated beyond the figurative and the abstract. Van Puyvelde hastens to achieve this visual and inner spectrum that culminates in the depth and the blossoming of existence itself, paraphrasing an idyllic stillness, where ‘a cavern is situated, with ivy, shade and pleasantly sweet waters.’1
Domenico de Chirico