At the Muhka the exhibition “The Gap” curated by Luc Tuymans is currently showing work by Boy & Erik Stappaerts (1969). Moreover, it is exactly one hundred years ago that Luc Peire was born. All the more reason to confront the work of Peire and Stappaerts and to dive into their work and environment in search of relationships and differences.
The title of the exhibition refers in the first place to the Environnement I-III that Luc Peire realized between 1965 and 1973 in Paris, Mexico and Auckland City. Each Environnement consists of a completely enclosed rectangular ‘wall’. The formica side panels are painted with synthetic paints in vertical lines. Soil and ceiling consist of mirrors. The entered spectator experiences an infinite virtual verticality. In the exhibition paintings and graphics from Peire are shown. All these works testify to the in-depth study of the verticality, which the artist undertook after leaving the figuration in the early fifties and which lasted until the end of his life.
Artist Boy & Erik Stappaerts studied from 1989 to 1993 at the Sint-Lucas institute in Brussels. In that period he sometimes visited an Environnement from Peire. Stappaerts came to the realization that it is virtually impossible for an artist to escape from art history. Every new work of art necessarily refers to work from the past. In order to escape these influences, Stappaerts designed a virtual environment: the B & E. S. Institute. This institute includes a museum, an archive and a database. This database consisting of ‘objects and backgrounds’ is the key element of Stappaert’s creative process. In the exhibition drawings, constructed from different layers of lime paper can be seen. These drawings are scanned and then vectorially converted with a digital drawing program and thus form the database from which the polarization, conflict and noise paintings so called by the artist are created. In addition to these drawings, which provide a unique insight into the working method of Stappaerts, noise paintings, editions and a sculpture are shown.