Guy Mees

1935 - 2003

Born in Mechelen (BE), died in Antwerp (BE).

Guy Mees (1935-2003) emerges as a painter in Antwerp in the late fifties, when post-war avant-garde art from the US was just beginning to find its way to Belgium. His first mature works are a series of black charcoal paintings doubling as reliefs.

Between 1960–1967 Mees produces an extensive body of work using industrially manufactured lace and neon lights in different flat and three-dimensional constellations. These are all titled Verloren Ruimte (‘Lost Space’). Around 1970 Mees experiments with performance and super 8 film. In the seventies, eighties and nineties Mees mostly works on, or with, paper. In 1983 he begins to use his former title again: he sees his site-specific variations with coloured paper as another kind of ‘lost spaces’.

Mees' work is systematic, but the system is created in the work itself. With the exception of a short text in Flash Art in 1973, he never comments on or explains his work, probably because he considers spoken and written words as too definitive for what he intends for his artistic praxis. The accuracy of the oeuvre – intertwining elements of painting, sculpture and performance, which emphasise the importance of colour, texture and space experience – is altogether different from a merely adequate verbal ‘definition’.

Towards the end of his life Mees loosens his strict approach to abstraction, which had given him sufficient variation and freedom till then, and begins experimenting with descriptive, figurative elements.

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