Tatjana Pieters is pleased to invite you to 'The beating heart' by Swedish painter Jim Thorell and Rags on Buildings by Polish sculptor Przemek Pyszczek. Both artists present new paintings & sculptures with their first solo exhibitions in Belgium. Although titled as 2 separate shows that relate to the current theme of their work, the presentation was set up as a dialogue to underscore the artists’ correlating interest in European nostalgia. Departing from a personal observation of European tradition, they fuse their experience in the culture they grew up in with canons in German, Scandinavian but also Belgian painting in the case of Thorell & post-communist architecture in the case of Pyszczek.

With The Beating Heart Thorell refers to the intensity of life, that has both violent and soft sides, something the artist also experienced on a private level in the past year. Having his roots in drawing, Thorell deliberately combines the flatness directed through the adaption of acrylic paint with a sensual and vibrant use of lines & colours in a multilayered composition. The repetitive flows of mark-making suggest the automatic gesture of grafitti, the visual language and dark humour reminds us of underground comics and political cartoons, while the uncanny dreamlike motifs reference symbolist painters like Munch & Ensor. In contrast with his earlier work, the portrait takes on a prominent role suggesting the existential but open narrative in his paintings. As the artist states:

"Images are carriers of vast amounts of information contained in every decision, as results of any successful accident or intentional mark left in the frame. I read images as someone would read a sign or an ad in a foreign airport. I interpret the choice of signatures, colors and symbols and get intrigued, not expecting to grasp the full extent of the content but still fascinated by the individual choices.

When I make a painting I take steps to create an automatic response in myself, a spontaneous shape or stain, connecting these with lines initially looking to create a character or an environment. Depending on what comes first I find solutions that give the image rhythm, balance or harmony. I look to inhabit the characters and evoke emotion and I aim to break conformity wanting each painting to move the gaze of the audience not resting but looking.

This particular series of images come from moving from painting on unprepared cotton canvases to a primed linen. I wanted to move away from the bleeding stains and light application to a more intentional shape or stroke. Where a lot of successful accidents used to be are now more spontaneous but deliberate intentions. Piecing them together I was thinking about a multilayered narrative. Like a simulated crime scene within a dream or a interface scrolling through emotions. I wanted to move away from the clashing shapes and create more of a topographical image.

These works were created during 2017. A year with a lot of pain and grief for a lot of people. Displacement, terror and insanity. I read books touching on the subjects of alien invasion, synthesized souls, autonomy of AI and emotional labyrinths. My body broke down for three months that felt like an eternity. I looked at the third season of twin peaks and played video games in the Dark souls series."

Jim Thorell (SE, 1981) lives and works in Stockholm. He has studied in various institutions in Sweden, as well as Japan, Vietnam and Austria. Since completing his MFA at the Valand School of Fine Arts in Gothenburg in 2010, his work has been widely exhibited around Europe and the United States. Recent solo exhibitions include LUCID MEMES at Carl Kostyál, Stockholm (SE)‚ The Sweet Heart at LOYAL gallery, Stockholm (SE), 7 Paintings at S12, New York (US) and Methadone at Gillmeier Rech, Berlin (DE). He is also represented by Gillmeier Rech.