As part of the « Ah… l’amour ! » cycle, L’Orangerie invites one of the most important visual artists of the Belgian art scene : Bernard Villers (Brussels, 1939). To mark the occasion, he presents a series of works characteristic of his work and his reflections on painting and colour, his long-standing loves.
Bernard Villers’ interest in colour focuses on almost banal but forgotten or unsuspected visual phenomenona, such as retinal persistence, reflection, reversibility, contrast and the relationship between colours. The artist observes them, questions them, and makes them visible. Bernard Villers’ gesture of painting, folding, printing, is similar to that of minimalist or conceptual artists in its simplicity and reduction to the essential, while retaining a fundamental relationship to the manipulation of matter : he applies paint and confronts it to the immateriality of its reflection, he uses poor materials such as paper or wood to invest it with precision and delicacy… The result then takes on various forms, from canvas to found object, from surface to volume.
Besides, words and books occupy a central place in Bernard Villers’ work, both as sources of inspiration and as as plastic elements. In the rotunda, several large-format sheets are spread out on the circular wall. They are printed with words referring to literature, song, or « commonplaces » and suggest a book unfurled in space. This installation testifies to his crucial relationship with space : the works, chosen according to the inspiration of the site and taking into account the wanderings of the visitor only take on meaning once presented in the exhibition.
Bernard Villers also publishes his own artist books. Here, he presents Arthur Rimbaud, which has for starting point two of Rimbaud’s poems, a line of Sensation and the colours mentioned in Voyelles, along with his famous portrait that he visually edits. The book has for peculiarity a « leporello » : an accordeon-like format that has not been randomly chosen, as it refers to the accordeon-shaped list of Don Juan’s conquests held by his valet Leporello. This work brings together works and characters that have a link to love.
The exhibition shows Bernard Villers’ love of painting and « doing », his particular attention to simplicity and detail, and his poetic approach to colour and painting.
– Abigaëlle Grommerch
Opening Saturday 17.02.24
From Thursdays to Sundays, 2pm > 6pm
Or by appointment
Until Sunday 24.03.24
Rue Porte Haute 30
6600 Bastogne (BE)
Read more about Bernard Villers