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Éric FourezOn the traces of the North Sea... [Carte blanche for Claude Lorent]

  • Exhibition

As part of its programme, art museum BPS22 is launching a new series of exhibitions, for which it is giving external curators "carte blanche" (Hall pass). First up is art critic and curator Claude Lorent, who will be curating the very first museum retrospective of artist Éric Fourez, with a collection of Fourez’s paintings, spanning fifty years of creative work, taking over the Great Hall.

For the first exhibition in its “Carte blanche” series, BPS22 has invited art critic and curator Claude Lorent (Charleroi, 1943), who has chosen to chart the pictorial career of Éric Fourez (Tournai, 1946) from 1974 to the present day.

Chargement en cours...
9 Traces Trace huile sur toile 100 x 100 2012 c Didier Coeck

In the 1970s, Éric Fourez began producing small paintings inspired by surrealism and literature. Only two of these works survive, bearing witness to an artistic influence that was quickly abandoned and an artistic practice that changed equally rapidly. Finding himself drawn to the photography-based hyper-realism genre, Fourez instantly made his mark with his distinctive light and luminous monochrome blue paintings. His favourite subjects: the waves and views of the North Sea and all they evoke – the elsewhere, travel, escapism. The rocks in Ploumanac’h, motorways, airports, beach huts... and then those first footprints in the sand. In 1984, Fourez’s canvases turned grey, their colour gradually fading until, by 1986, white had become the dominant colour. And the subject a trace, the figuration allusive, at times appearing to dissolve into abstraction.

For Claude Lorent, Fourez’s career is a remarkable one: "Éric Fourez has been tirelessly and resolutely following the very same, unchanging creative process ever since, painting fascinating seascapes, gullied, hollowed out beaches, shaped by the ebb, flow and backwash of the sea, by the power, or gentleness of the waves that come and go, retreat and return, dying on the sand before rising again, more determined and more alive than ever.

A hymn to life and nature, images of destiny, vanities and landscapes, these paintings of infinite whiteness and space, silent and solitary, evoke the passage of time, the fragility of things and beings, the ephemeral and the fight against inevitable obliteration to the point of disappearance. In all sizes and formats, they invite us to look and reflect, to share and delight in the magic of life, to meditate, to become more aware of ourselves, of our earth, which we need to respect, and of the infinite universe.”

Trace 055 Trace huile sur toile 100 x 100 2005 c Didier Coeck

The first major museum retrospective of Éric Fourez’s work, the exhibition will bring together over fifty paintings on canvas, ranging from small formats to works measuring 4.2 m x 2 m, as well as a number of documents. It will also act as a platform for Éric Fourez to pay tribute to his artist friends, with works by Gabriel Belgeonne, Pierre Courtois, Gaston De Mey, Jephan de Villiers, Patricia Dopchie, Francis Dusépulchre, Jean-Michel François, Jack Keguenne, André Lambotte, Michel Mineur, Baudouin Oosterlynck and Guy Vandenbranden also on display.

Éric Fourez

A self-taught painter, Éric Fourez (Tournai, 1946 - Lives and works in Tournai) is also an accomplished musician and was in charge of visual arts in the city in which he was born. In this role, he created and organised Tournai’s art prize and the city’s “Arts dans la ville” arts festival.

Since his debut exhibition at the Cercle artistique de Tournai in 1974, Fourez has notably exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris (1990), the Maison de la Culture in Namur (1995 and solo in 2006), Musée Ianchelevici in La Louvière (1999, with Francis Dusépulchre and Panamarenko), Musée de l’Art Wallon in Liège (2000), Musée Félicien Rops in Namur (2006, solo), Cologne’s city library and the Institute of Romance Studies in Aachen (2007), Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC) in Liège (2009, solo, and 2010), Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tournai (2013) and the Centre Culturel Arrêt 59 in Péruwelz (2015).

He has also had solo exhibitions in Belgium in art galleries L’Estampe, Pim De Rudder, Aleph, Détour, MG Art and Faider, and abroad in art galleries Jos Art (Amsterdam, 2002 and 2007) and Eva Poll (Berlin, 2007). Recent exhibitions include A Taste of Abstraction (1975-2000) at La Patinoire Royale / Galerie Valérie Bach in Brussels (2022) and Abstraction at La Boverie in Liège, coming soon to the ECC in Brussels and Le Delta in Namur.

Grande Halle
Claude Lorent
Françoise Vandenberghe
Exhibition from 01.06 to 01.09.2024
Opening on 31.05.2024 from 19:00