Short introduction to the work of Carole Vanderlinden on the occasion of an exhibition and book presentation at Galerie Zwart Huis in Brussels
Carole Vanderlinden (Brussels, 1973) mainly makes paintings and painted works on paper. She studied painting in Ghent, where she has lived for many years. Her first solo exhibition was in 2004 at Croxhapox, a very special exhibition space in Ghent, where Michaël Borremans also made his debut.
Today I think the best introduction to Carole Vanderlinden’s work is explaining how it was created. It’s probably easier to read her work if you know how it came to life. Many artists take inspiration from existing works of art they’ve generally come into contact with when growing up, often in books or magazines, sometimes in museums and galleries. Carole Vanderlinden loves to read and to leaf through books, but her main interest is visiting museums of ancient or ethnographic art. In general, she looks for any event, drawing, object, pattern, colour and rhythm that speaks to her. Joining her on two of these trips of discovery, once in Brussels and once in Paris, I discovered that she can be fascinated by the most diverse objects, such as a zigzag Navajo carpet, Egyptian alabaster Canopic jars dating back to 1500 BC, 18th-century glazed biscuit from Tournai or a herbarium. These objects and their colours and rhythms are copied in notebooks, often with an accompanying text. Later she might re-paint them on paper creating new combinations or compositions. These works on paper usually remain quite light, with a lot of cut-outs, like minimalist collages.
In parallel Vanderlinden works on her paintings without any preconceived idea. Layer after layer the paintings try to avoid being controlled or supervised in any way. Sometimes we see patterns emerge that are familiar from her works on paper. These patterns are used as ways of countering a painting, destabilising it, recreating a balance or finishing it. During this practice, the patterns become more compact and dense. Slowly they merge with the stubborn texture of the painting.
On the occasion of this exhibition, the book ‘Mon seul désir’ will be presented to the public. This book, which has been designed and published by Posture Editions, is a follow-up to ‘Nocturne’ (2013). It contains reproductions of works on paper by Carole Vanderlinden and an oniric essay of my own, inspired by Carole’s works on paper and the medieval tapestry La dame à la licorne, that we visited together.
Hans Theys, Montagne de Miel, 2nd August 2017