Jean-Baptiste Besançon: “Painting is a language for me. I try to get inside the painting. Sometimes the act of creating is like a fight, other times more like a dialogue. I do not know what is to come when I paint. Sometimes there is a magical happening in the first stroke, but I always have to reflect on the painting carefully.”
Geukens & De Vil in Knokke has programmed a solo exhibition with the expressive and poetic work of the French painter Jean-Baptiste Besançon. The exhibition will be on show (with a short intermission from 10 January to 13 February) until 7 March. Besançon’s energetic and abstract paintings are the result of an improvised process with fluid and impulsive movements, without pre-conceived compositions or ideas. But as soon as Besançon applies the acrylic paint to the canvas, he actively reflect on what he creates.
Besançon grew up in Bordeaux, where he still lives and works. He studied graphic design in Paris, but always experienced a deep interest in painting, even when he was still a child. Although his eye was trained during his studies, he is an autodidact in the field of painting. He started experimenting within the medium in his youth - using various techniques and materials - and found inspiration and a certain infinity in the work of Jackson Pollock and Pierre Soulages. He particularly admired a certain creative energy that these artists share, in knowing how to balance between ultimate control and freedom.
The artist usually works horizontally, on the ground. For his most recent works, he even turned the canvas upside down. Using a brush, sponge or spatula, he applies thick layers of paint to untreated cotton or linen, with convincing gestures that ensure that the paint penetrates deep into the fabric. He then brushes, dilutes, scrapes and smoothes the canvas, a process in which both the maker and the material play a role. The result appears very intuitive, free and subtle and makes you curious about the artist’s innermost thoughts. Yet Besançon reserves a necessary role for the viewer, who may interpret the work himself and thus add an extra layer to the work. Besançon: “There is a part of myself present in these paintings. I hope people will be guided by the paintings’ shapes, dynamism, and colours, and that they will find a part of themselves there too.”