Fred Bervoets, paintings and prints
Fred Bervoets (°1942) is one of the most well known painters in Belgium. He studied at the Royal Academy in Antwerp and at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in the same city, graduating in 1965. In 1992, he became the leading professor of the painting department at the same Academy. His work is represented by the Antwerp gallery ‘Zwarte Panter’.
Stylistically he is related to neo-expressionism and the 'Neue Wilde' in Germany (Penck, Immendorff, Baselitz, Rainer and others). Another important source of inspiration is the work of the Belgian painter James Ensor, whose satirical view on society he shares.
Bervoets always works in a figurative and serial manner. He considers himself a 'storyteller', and the stories he tells stem directly from his personal emotions and experiences. All his works have a narrative background, and present themselves as fragmented images, wherein several anecdotal elements are combined to form a whole. The stories are about his family life, his artists-friends and his gallery in Antwerp. The artist himself is frequently present and can be easily recognised by the onlooker, although he is frequently disguised as a buffoon, a bottle-man, a gnome or even a Christmas tree. Different moments of the story are shown together in a rather chaotic way, so that only the artist himself is able to separate them clearly from one another. Most of his works are psychological self-portraits, depicted in a wild manner with sharp irony and self-mockery.
The creative process is based on the fast registration of impressions, without paying much attention to technical aspects. His working methods are invented as he goes along, relying on intuition and a vast amount of experience.
Fred Bervoets is also active as a printmaker and produced hundreds of etchings, lithographs en serigraphies. Over the last twenty years or so, etching has become his main activity, and in this field he became very innovative. He invented his own method of realising etchings on a very large scale. To do so, he applies nitrous acid directly to large sheets of zinc and the separate prints are pasted together to form a whole. This very large etching, commonly more than three metres wide, is subsequently finished with acrylic paint and additional drawing.
Fred Bervoets has participated in more than a hundred
individual and group exhibitions in Belgium and abroad, and has won several
important art prizes, most notably the State Prize for Visual Art in 1991. His
works are represented in the most prominent collections of contemporary art in
Belgium, among which the Muhka (Museum of Contemporary Art of Antwerp), the
SMAK (Museum of Contemporary Art of Ghent), the PMMK (Museum of Contemporary
Art of Ostend) and the Museum of Modern Art in Brussels.