mischievous tone. A hint of a chuckle comes through.
However, he did speak seriously about the genius loci of
both places before trumping the topic with, “I don’t know.
Maybe it’s all bullshit.”
Thus, in no time at all I am presented with ultimate
things. Hanging men and their imagined ghostly visitations
and (de)consecrated space. Yet the conversation is telling in
many ways. It was a dance, a dalliance that offered ingress into
his work only after a bit of distraction. In fact, I’m reminded
of Ortega y Gasset describing the manner in which nearly
everything should be approached. That is, things ought to
“be taken as Jericho was taken. In wide circles, our thoughts
and our emotions must keep on pressing in on (them) slowly,
sounding in the air, as it were, imaginary trumpets…” Thus,
it becomes clear that apprehending Borremans’s work as a
kind of visual poetry is not just plausible—it’s irresistible.
I say this because his art, like language, conceals as much
as it reveals, and he masterfully reminds us that creatures
and things only momentarily flare with disclosure. In fact,
he gives us figures and objects that in some ways operate as
vestments because they disguise the unseen.
His art presses us into a communication to which
we’re unaccustomed, and into a depth that, while only
Above: Michaël Borremans, Sleeper, 2007–2008, Oil on canvas, 15 3/4 x 19 11/16
in., Private Collection, Courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp © Photographer Peter Cox
© Michaël Borremans. Below: Michaël Borremans, The Devil’s Dress, 2011, Oil on canvas, 78 3/4 x 118 1/8 in., Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund,
Courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp and David Zwirner, New York/London © Photographer Ron Amstutz © Michaël Borremans