Lionel Estève


Lionel Estève


9 March 2023 – 15 April 2023 09.03.2023 – 15.04.2023

Rue Isidore Verheyden 2

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All these large fabrics can seem imposing. They almost entirely cover the gallery walls and among the many layers of tulle fabric large figures take shape. From within this great mass, giants emerge. The transparent, overlapping fabrics make this ensemble of large silhouettes look as if they are huddling together to form a rather ghostly crowd. Among this crowd, each figure has its own personality, nature and rationale, but they all have one thing in common – being present in the same space. Some have a glass in their hand, others are holding a cigarette, a few seem to be talking to one another, others ignore each other. Do not be intimidated by them, they are just like you. 


Alongside these large pieces of fabric, a table is displayed, like a bar table cluttered with a pile of empty bottles. They’re made of plaster with little drawings for labels. So, each bottle has its own individuality and seems to be telling us its story, in a very personal way. The bottles tell us about a person, a situation, a moment in time. For me, this is an intriguing and indirect way of exhibiting drawings. All these bottles piled together seem to cascade into the sound of a jostling crowd. 


These two artworks both allude to crowds. I wanted to evoke this idea of chaos to tell a story, like an alibi, to make each one a person in its own right. With these pieces, I would also like to carry on the tradition of depicting festivities, banquets and large gatherings that are a recurring subject throughout art history. It’s all about openings here. I think it were openings that piqued my curiosity and got me involved in art when I was a teenager. This is why I would like to pay homage to them. Some would use the word “paradise” to describe a place where you’re offered a glass of wine, where you find yourself in good company, having interesting conversations, and where, sometimes, the art is beautiful to contemplate. Others would call it an “opening”. 


Even though these days, for many of us, gallery openings seem superficial and futile, don’t go looking for any attempts at satire, criticism, or realism here, or even sociological analysis. Once again, it’s more like a playful mirror being held up to visitors. You might recognize yourself in it unless you’d rather close your eyes and listen to the hubbub of the crowd.


Lionel Estève, February 2023

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