Hugo Heyrman, a Dialogue with Reality

The artistic perception concentrates on two dimensions: a place in space or a course in time. Many are the disciplines that bridge both, fewer are the artists, who suggest one medium with another. Hugo Heyrman is experienced in painting and has come a long way. His latest series of paintings could however be ranged under a common denominator: capturing fleeting moments, concretisation of the ethereal, experience of dimension; thus multidisciplinary activities.

Starting with his latest painting and looking back at what preceded, a period with a pervading sense of control appears to have set in. Aspects out of an overwhelming nature are seen by Hugo Heyrman, experienced and captured. Back to the landscape, beyond the tradition, beyond the stereotype forming, to the registration of a unique moment. Heyrman grows out of the protest and happening climate of the sixties, a period of great spatial realizations and critical dialogues with the public. Times have changed but a similar spirit has stayed on, with other means but just as solitary.

Heyrman questions himself and the beholder regarding the relativeness of a perception. In this process, one surpasses the pure perceptional world, into the metaphysical, without necessarily ending up in the style direction, which bears the same name.

The themes that Hugo Heyrman represents, are simple. Though its disarming simplicity complicates – as paradoxical as that sounds – matters. The viewer is forced to look, probingly in dialogue with the maker. Here both viewpoints respond to recognition and rememberance, where subtle differences between observations and experiences form the creative impulse. A functional description of Heyrman’s work would lead us quickly in the customary terminology of hyper-realism. Photographic thought/image cuttings, fragments of a simple reality, the street, a crossroad, stairs, reflections in a puddle, a landscape; or more abstract, air, water, earth. Such a description remains, however, purely formal and of little account. After all the physique of the objects is placed by Hugo Heyrman with an obstinate systematics in time and space dimensions. In concrete terms, transient themes in a mathematical and optical perspective. The painting technique has got little in common with photo-realism. Observed in detail it is often pure action painting, extraordinarily rich in picturality. Yet this aspect too, is fugitive and not isolated. It’s full meaning emerges after a solidifying of an imposing gesture. The complete works of Hugo Heyrman can be viewed as a sequence of film images; the registration of our footprints in our daily surroundings. He loves painting in correlated sequences. A theme is tapped and exhaustively researched, and has a built-in interval of time. Starting with the nearest environment and slowly widening the borders, there is a thematical lapsing of city to landscape. Impressionism? realism? romanticism? the concepts become fuzzy, and yet only provided with a double bottom they can be verified. For Hugo Heyrman rather, it is about recording his and our place in our daily occurrences. One feels positioned at an intersection of flightlines, and sucked up into a world of silence, somewhere on the horizon.

Marc Bourgeois

Kunstbeeld in Vlaanderen vandaag, Lannoo/BRD, Tielt, 1982

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