Philippe Van Snick

1946 - 2019

Died in Brussels (BE), born in Ghent (BE).

Philippe Van Snick (1946 - 2019) makes work that is characterised by an extremely simple visual language, akin to minimalism, and the repeated use of the same colours: sometimes only using blue and black, the colours of day and night. Since 1980 Van Snick has been using his ten colours systematically: the primary colours red, yellow and blue, the secondary colours orange, green and purple, the non-colours white and black (representing the immaterial) and gold and silver (referring to materialism and material wealth, but following the occult tradition of Alchemy, as ‘inert’ or ‘pure’ metals. In addition, they proverbially signify ‘silence’ and ‘speech’. For Van Snick, colours have both mental and physical meaning.

Van Snick’s works are closely related to the notion of space and the physical experience of the viewer in a room. Van Snick uses a simple and clearly defined visual vocabulary consisting of conceptual photography, mathematics, fragile sculptures and his own palette of ten colours. With these and other decimal systems, he creates abstract worlds that are governed by bipolar fundamental forces. This bipolarity – the contrast between light and dark, colour and its absence, and smooth  versus rough surface – is an important aspect in Van Snick’s entire oeuvre.

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