Published on April 7, 2023
From 31 March to 23 July, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (RMFAB) present For Love's S(n)ake! an exhibition by Belgian artist Johan Van Mullem.
By inviting Johan Van Mullem to the heart of their collection of Ancient Art, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium establish their role of catalyst to pass on history to the widest audience possible, therefor actively embodying their support for the contemporary creation that puts down its roots in Brussels.
Originally from Bruges and now a Brussels’ citizen, Johan Van Mullem stands as a true national flagship and a renowned multidisciplinary artist. He will be the only Belgian contemporary artist to be exhibited at the RMFAB this year, and the exhibition is the perfect opportunity to build bridges with his native country. As the only Belgian contemporary artist to be exhibited at the RMFAB in 2023, he meets his country through this exhibition.
By questioning our changing society in his own individual way, he finds his place within the Remedies exhibitions’ program. Confronted with the ills and symptoms of our humanity, Johan Van Mullem's art tends to offer a therapeutic path and seems to suggest possible remedies by encouraging us to slow down, reflect and meditate.
For Love's S(n)ake! reveals never before shown pieces as well as the latest work produced by the Brussels artist. The body of works on display contrasts with what the public knows of the artist's work, namely his depictions of phantasmagoric faces, reflecting on what lies within, presented notably during his monographic exhibition at the Musée d'Ixelles in 2016-2017.
A transition has taken place in recent years from portraits to nature. The health crisis and successive lockdowns have had a catalytic effect on his practice. Forced to slow down, the artist rediscovered his (inner) garden, a new horizon that inspired him to create universes more oriented towards the exterior. The vegetal dimension calls for serendipity and the artist’s colour palette blooms through the dreamy landscapes. The overall effect culminates in a peculiar luminescence enhanced by the use of printing and etching inks.
Between emotions and memory, between movement and light, some fifty new works, sometimes of an impressive format, open up a timeframe far from any urgency, and offer the public a new perspective, inscribing contemporary creation in its historical roots.