Issue three | Vincent Geyskens

Solo exhibition at M

Vincent Geyskens

Issue three of M
More to read!

Work by Vincent Geyskens (1971) has already been exhibited at S.M.A.K. in Ghent and KANAL in Brussels, among others. Now there is his first major solo exhibition at M.

As a painter you aim at one thing: seeing. Vincent Geyskens

Vincent Geyskens researches the position of painting in our contemporary society. For him, ‘the body, the matter’, is an essential part of the art of painting. It cannot exist without it. Yet those very elements are ignored in today’s visual culture.


“Painting doesn’t do that,” he says in an interview with culture magazine rekto:verso. “More than that: it can’t do that.” It is precisely because of this that it questions the idea of progress in contemporary art – the notion that art must constantly innovate.  

In all of Geyskens’ works, the physical act of making is clearly present, for example in the thickly applied strokes of paint. It is his way of making thoughts tangible, but also of emphasizing the artisanal, material aspect of painting.


Geyskens’ works are sometimes abstract, sometimes figurative. He uses different techniques and materials, but there is always that focus on making. “For me, painting is still a way of getting in touch with the material and to get things going. Rather than fixing something,” he says in a conversation with art journalist Hilde Van Canneyt.


Series are clearly visible in Geyskens’ oeuvre, which are connected both in terms of content and form. The exhibition at M aims to shed light on the breadth of his practice and brings together a number of those series. The focus is on the past ten years, supplemented by older reference works.


Each work in this series is a polyptych. It consists of frames that you see in the street around posters. Geyskens removes the old poster, paints on them and creates vistas. The succession of frames provides a certain rhythm. The recurring shapes and colours allow complex relationships to emerge. The plastic textures and colours underline the pure materiality of the works. 

Each image plays with memory and recognition, preventing us from really seeing. I try to move away from idea and image while painting, in order to create opportunities to see. For me, painting is not primarily about showing, but about seeing itself. I want to see. As a painter you aim at one thing,’ seeing’. Every painting is, as far as I’m concerned, an attempt to see. In conversation with curator Eva Wittocx


For his collages, Vincent Geyskens starts from existing images. Often these are pornographic, erotic or political in nature. They have a clear function: to excite or to convince. Geyskens tears, folds, cuts and pastes until the original image is no longer visible. In this way he creates new compositions, in which only small fragments remain legible. The collages question the role of images in our consumer culture.

Abstract Works

In his abstract works, Geyskens explores the role of motifs, colour and dynamics. He often uses white or black to create a sense of emptiness or openness. The thickly applied strokes of paint emphasise the physical and material aspect of painting.

Still Life

Geyskens is constantly investigating the meaning of painting in our time. In that search he also looks to the past, to the practices of older artists. In the past year he has focused on the still life. In subdued tones and on a white background, he paints compositions with bottles, a loaf of bread, a skull, cups, etc. The objects are recognisable, but very schematic – they flirt with abstraction. The layers of paint give the still lifes a kind of tangibility.

Unexpected kinship: Alfred Delaunois

For his exhibition, Vincent Geyskens also delved into M’s historical art collection. He found affinities with his own work in the paintings and drawings of Alfred Delaunois, – especially with his recent landscape drawings, which he made on his walks. He feels a connection to Delaunois’ rather rough way of painting, and with his use of matter and texture.


Alfred Delaunois (1877-1941) was born in Brussels, but spent most of his life in Leuven. There he came into contact with sculptor and painter Constantin Meunier (1831-1905), who had an important influence on his work.


Delaunois was an esteemed painter. He was a teacher and director of the Leuven Municipal Academy of Fine Arts and also enjoyed international fame. In his work, he often tries to evoke an atmosphere of silence and contemplation.

New monograph Vincent Geyskens

On the occasion of Geyskens’ solo exhibition, M and Mercatorfonds are publishing a monograph on the artist, with extensive visual material and texts by the art critic Dominic Van den Boogerd and the curator of M Eva Wittocx, among others, and designed by Kim Beirnaert.

A new poem by Geyskens will also be published by Het balanseer in the spring: ‘The Gender of the Eel’.

Vincent Geyskens

28.05.2021 - 05.09.2021.

More to read!

‘The Constant Glitch’:

why M supports emerging talent

At home with an M-art patron:

The collection of Leen and David

Issue three