painting: Saint
Saint, Oil on curdoroy, 2011
110cm x 92cm
painting: Into the Hills then
Into the Hills then
Into the Hills then, Oil on canvas, 2011
110cm x 80cm

Pop Secret

One-day exhibition

9 July 2011 at Atelier Solarshop (Dambruggestraat, Antwerpen)

Introduction by Liv Vaisberg, Director at Ponyhof Gallery


PONYHOF GALLERY questions in its shows the role of painting nowadays. Traditionally, painting was the medium used for centuries to depict portraits, still life or landscapes, before the invention of photography. Since then, and especially in the 60s and 70s, painting has been repeatedly called dead and although there has been a resurgence in the eighties, it is unclear what place it holds on the contemporary art scene, suffering from its highly commoditised status.


POP SECRET gives prominence to the process which painters go through to achieve their end work. For the three artists presented at the show, and for contemporary painters in generally, it is not the end result that matter as much as the process to reach it. POP SECRET exhibits here a sample of works showing how our artists are experimenting on paper, corduroy and canvas to find a way of making painting still relevant nowadays.


Celine Felga engages us in a critique of contemporary visual culture by constantly questioning the relationship between individuals and their representation in a world dominated by mass-media. After having appropriated and digested images she gleans in the news, history or her personal experience, she then reinterprets, combines and stages them according to her own process. She perceives human beings as fragmented individuals inhabiting a fragmented world, which she seeks to reflect through the nifty composition of her paintings. The process for her to build her paintings is equally important as the end result. POP SECRET presents her latest collages and drawings, which reveal this process.


Jens Hesse is known for his paintings on corduroy representing distorted images of digital images. But overall, Jens Hesse is interested in all side-effects of those nearly perfect images issued by the digital world. Jens, who was trained as a fashion designer, explores with his work the limits of the canvas and  materials. Those painted snapshots enables Jens to visually experiment, always oscillating between figuration and abstraction while reinforcing emotional expressions in what appears almost surreal in this world of apparent digital perfection. He presents for POP SECRET two works: a 3D painting that tackles the absurdity of painting as a medium, by slowly reproducing a technique that can easily be obtained with modern devices; and a almost mystic portrait of a “saint” painted on corduroy and that pushes the boundaries.


Works by Wouter van de Koot showed at POP SECRET unveil his process in  reproducing images that he initially staged himself and always seeks to re-use. The paintings and ink drawings presented at pop-secret are based on enlarged printed material derived from previous work material. This process consists more precisely in cutting, taping, scanning, enlarging part of the original images before adding a final adjustment digitally.  Wouter's re-working of his own image enables him to take distance towards the initial personal and emotional side of the pictures to treat them like objects. But this process is also a challenge towards the abstract to see how far he can get without losing his own feeling with the image.