This spring, I visited your studio in the rural, rustic Sint-Martens-Latem for the very first time. Behind the modest fence of scrub, I did unexpectedly discover a studio exploding with creative production, which, in terms of scale and content, almost seems to be the ultimate habitat of a contemporary homo universalis. Subsequently, and quite rightly so, you introduced yourself as "a man of the planet."
It was an abundance of paintings, objects, sculptures and project ideas for public spaces developed for the most diverse places around the world. Our 'little Flanders’ is only a small dot on your gigantic playground. The studio contains a special micro-world, filled with global proposals for a complex reality. You surprised me with a range of stories, facts, and ideas ranging from flowers, artistry, production, fishing, the city, politics, ecology, fame, the small homeland and the wonderful big world. The work of Arne is very diverse and floats with a variety of construction, architecture, image, diversity and romance. It cannot be reduced to one discipline.
Such enthusiasm and plurality in production are rare. Rather than the typical romantic struggle of the artist with society, your artistic practice is one of resolute embrace. The engagement is shown through a total dedication that leads to an art that approaches the universe of people, fauna, flora, in all its beauty and diversity. In this respect, it is not at all surprising that you consider the nineteenth century Impressionists as your great examples of the present day. As a critical answer to the arrival of urbanization and industrialization and the start of modern times, they used the pleasure of urbanity and the beauty of nature as subjects. Capturing movement and focusing on everyday reality are two other aspects that bridge to your artistic practice.
We also talked about the perception of your work. In the Belgian art world, the name Arne Quinze often has an ambiguous connotation, due to its expressive character and atypical but accessible work. As a man of the planet, you justly came up with this simple conclusion: "In Flanders, by definition, success and greatness are mistrusted." No need to elaborate on this, when one looks at the positive reception of your work on a global scale with future projects in metropolises like Hong Kong, São Paulo, Mexico City,...
After all, Arne Quinze is also a boy 'from the street'. He started his artistic career as a graffiti artist in the eighties in and around the streets of Brussels and quickly learned the meaning and power of sign, colour, shape, word, speed and scale in the urban space. His work is essentially about bringing people together and social interaction, regardless of origin or nationality, always and at any time.
I am very much looking forward to the new series of paintings and its secular secrets that will be portrayed during the My Secret Garden exhibition.
The development of this series of "My Secret Garden" paintings was preceded by a great quest. Arne Quinze started this project 6 years ago by planting a flower meadow of more than 4000 plants and flowers around his house, achieving a complete metamorphosis in order to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of nature. How do plants grow, develop and behave? How do they evolve through the seasons? What is the symbiotic relationship between different plants? And above all, how do they influence us?
Quinze worked, arranged and researched his own garden in an almost romantic way, following in the footsteps of the great Impressionist Monet in order to arrive at a moment of knowledge and insight, thus allowing him to paint freely and without constraints.
My Secret Garden is an exuberant explosive series, full of dynamics, color, diversity and composition spread over several canvases. Enormous canvases of expressive and explosive colour, and smaller canvases hinting at poetic almost feminine romanticism. With his My Secret Garden series, Arne Quinze lays himself bare to the viewer. He demonstrates the search, the commitment and the fight that led him to the perfect Secret Garden. My Secret Garden is a very personal series, and perhaps for that very reason, most can identify with it. The ultimate challenge is to engage viewers to look into their own inner selves and discover their own Secret Garden.
For many years, Quinze has been recognized all over the world for his unique public installations and returns to his Flanders with My Secret Garden where we, the Maruani Mercier gallery, are proud to exhibit his new body of work together with the artist’s most exclusive and unique 24 Carat, 45 kilograms Golden Natural Chaos.
MY SECRET GARDEN EXHIBITION
Maruani Mercier Gallery, 2018
31 March 2018 – 14 May 2018, Maruani Mercier Gallery, Kustlaan 90, Knokke
Opening: Saturday, 31 March 2018
FROM 4 TO 7 PM