When calling oneself a painter, one has to bear the burden of the conventions which have accumulated throughout many centuries of painting history. Instead of disregarding this, the young Belgian painter Dieter Ravyts takes on the challenge to use it as a starting point for his artistic research. The title for his rst solo exhibition at Tatjana Pieters refers to an interview with David Foster Wallace, in which the author talks about how perfectionism can lead to inertia. To be able to create is to accept the imperfections that may arise during the transformation from idea to concrete reality. The perfectionist can get stuck on the ideas to avoid disappointment in the execution. It is between these two poles that the body of work of Dieter Ravyts arises.
In the ongoing series ‘Tube Paintings’ Ravyts questions the physical nature of paint. These paintings are made of thin wisps of oil paint squeezed out of the tube directly upon the canvas. The mechanically perfect, but unnatural shape of the squeezed paint is left untouched and becomes a readymade as such. Ravyts takes it a step further by making cans for self-made paint. The ‘Paint Containers’ re ect upon the evolution of paint making as a craft into paint as an industrial and accessible product. Ravyts replaces the industrial tube with a self constructed can from which every wisp of paint is different. Sometimes multiple colours come out of the opening of the can at the same time, and sometimes the wisp takes the form of a star.
Ideas concerning the industrialization process and the accessibility to the medium are also taken on in his series ‘Affiche’. These hand painted monumental works on paper remind us of announcement posters. They are concerned with painting as a dying medium (or dead medium, according to some), that keeps losing more and more of its functions. The works deal with themes that the contemporary painter struggles with: self-promotion, expectations and disappointments, the relation between painting and the perfection of rapidly produced printed matter, man vs machine and the beauty of imperfections. Some of these issues are also present in the series ‘FORMULAS’, a seemingly scientific classication of laquer drops.
Finally, Ravyts puts the relation between the visitor and the exhibition space in perspective with ‘Bystander’, a sculpture made from wood and mirrors. It reflects an image of the surrounding space and the art works in the space. The artist makes us aware of how we look at painting in this digital era, attempting to judge its quality through a screen without experiencing it irl. The combination of sleek design, sharp observations of the medium, and subtle humour creates a contemporary reading of what painting is about.
Dieter Ravyts (1988, Dendermonde, BE) lives & works in Ghent. He graduated at School of Arts (KASK), Ghent in 2010. In 2014 Ravyts was premiered at the gallery as part of the group show ‘The Originals S1 E1’, with amongst others Heather Phillipson, Amalia Ulman, Jaako Pallasvuo and Ilja Karilampi. In ‘What’s the meaning of a Goldfish’ he participated alongside Audrey Cottin, Clive Hodgson, Derek Sullivan & Philippe Van Snick. Recent solo exhibitions include: ‘Tubepaintings, Paintcontainers and other stuff’, Loods12, Wetteren (BE) and ‘Too Lame for Fame’ (with Jelle Spruyt), These Things Take Time, Ghent (BE). His works are part of private collections in Belgium and Portugal.