For the Belgian artist Matthijs Kimpe, modern image techniques, such as screens and prints, form the breeding ground for his paintings. The intriguing choice of synthetic and optical materials, in combination with paint and other textures, forces viewers to observe the work from different angles. Therefore due to the optical nature of the work, the viewer’s position determines the image.
His practice revolves around manipulating the functions of the screen- and printer-reproduced images. In fact, his research mainly lies between the interaction of the traditional static image and the fleeting contemporary visual experience.
It comes as no surprise that Kimpe’s preference shifts to a combination of modern image techniques, optical materials, and classical painting techniques. At first, he studied graphic design at the KASK in Ghent, and only afterward followed a painting course at Sint-Lucas. Thus, in his paintings, digital and virtual images acquire an analog quality.
Also, Matthijs Kimpe makes extensive use of color theory, for example, through the application of complementary colors. The color models, such as RGB (for screens) and CMYK (for printing), play an important role as well. He became better acquainted with them during his graphic design studies
Interested in the ways in which people react to images and optical illusions, Matthijs Kimpe experiments to his heart’s content. What effect does a certain combination of materials have? Which images are then created, whether by accident or not? In other words, Kimpe strives for a certain balance, with chaos and turbulence as the starting point.
‘On a quiet evening at home, I happened to notice something. My television set had a bad connection, so I had to adjust the antenna. During my search for a better signal, I suddenly paid attention to the image of my device. The bad connection caused the color of the image to snow softly.
A new exciting picture emerged from the news on Thursday evening. The figures on the screen became mystical shadows, which, veiled, showed a different meaning to me. The ‘disturbed’ scenes hid and defied my curiosity. The individuals became depersonalized. They seemed to become an archetype of their nature. The images were also given an unusual texture. Color drummed together in clusters. Light and shadow distorted into a mere suggestion of form’ — Matthijs Kimpe.
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist & Tatjana Pieters