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Preserving the mystery

Preserving the mystery

When art meets science

Who: Sandrien Wansink, secretary at the department of Toxicogenomics

Painting: The Wooden Skirt, Michaël Borremans

Target group: all students

Sandrien Wansink first became acquainted with the Belgian artist Michaël Borremans in 2006. “I saw one of his videos in De Appel in Amsterdam. People are standing with their hands under a table. It seems as if they are lifting it, but they are not holding on to the table. The images are in black and white and shown on an old film projector. This all contributes to the indefinable feeling that you get when you look at it. Since then I have been intrigued by Borremans.”

That was why she also visited Borremans’ travelling exhibition As sweet as it gets in the Centre For Fine Arts ( Bozar) in Brussels, to which Wooden Skirt belongs. “The work is very representative of Borremans. It has something mystical. A little boy standing on a mat. You don’t know what is going on inside him or what he is doing there. Maybe he is preparing to do a somersault? He is completely inside himself. He holds his hands, almost beseechingly, in front of himself. As if energetic waves are running between his hands and the ground. As if he is about to ascend.”

It is this mystery that Wansink appreciates and from which she feels that students could learn something. “Borremans’ art is always intangible and that makes it exciting. At university, we work with our minds all day. Everything has to be discovered, reasoned and analysed. But sometimes feelings are more important. Sometimes you have to preserve the mystery. To just let it be. Beautiful things can come from that. Artists do this a lot. They work with not knowing, in a world where everything is possible.”

Wansink feels that Borremans is a real professional. “He has taken a good look at the old masters, you can see that in his paintings. But he does not copy them. He uses his professional skills for the benefit of the image that he wants to create, his message. I think that is clever.”

As sweet as it gets can be seen in Brussels until 3 August 2014, after which the exhibition travels on to Tel Aviv (Israel) and Dallas (Texas, USA).

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