Koen van den Broek

° 1973

Lives in Schilde (BE), born in Bree (BE).

In his paintings, Koen Van den Broek investigates the human experience of the environment. His paintings are readily recognizable. They are descriptions of the landscape, urban architecture, constructions or details thereof. His works show traces of human presence: circus tents, highways, bridges, sewers, pipes, fragments of houses or cars, sidewalk curbs… His personal collection of photographs, snapshots that he takes on his countless journeys, are his artistic points of departure. Koen Van den Broek opts for unsightly motifs, fragments that are recurrent in any town. The artist seeks out anonymity, the general rather than the specific. The oeuvre of Koen Van den Broek consists of painted versions of his snapshots. The relationship vis-à-vis photography is essential to his work. Transformation and variation with respect to the original photographic shot is crucial. Playfulness, diversity and duality – rigid delineation versus wild brush strokes, depth versus surface – are all characteristic of his work. Koen Van den Broek questions the viewing schemes of photography. His paintings are anti-images, reactions against the recordings of a piece of apparatus: the camera. His painterly focus is paint, colours’ spatial effect and the reduction of motifs to their most naked form. His paintings show fragmentation and randomness, in contrast to the controlling and the summarizing effect that photography brings. Boundaries dominate his work: both in investigating the frontiers of the painting as surface, as in his preference for boundary-related motifs: gutters, bridges, corners of buildings… Koen Van den Broek paints the void, the pause, just the moment when all is still. His images seem to be holding their breath: they show the instant when something has just happened, or is just about to happen.

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