PETER MORRENS AT VALERIE TRAAN GALLERY

"Blijven Hangen."

- Until 05.02.2022

© Ligia Poplawska



Blijven Hangen / Lingering in plain sight

There's so much I want to say. There's so much I want to say. Wait. Maybe I can show it to you, look ahead a little. A man will come into sight, on a gray-painted staircase. For a split second he will think that the steps run dead against a wooden wall, that he is stuck, trapped in his own impossibility. For a moment the image will falter, freeze, but then the man will slowly start to move, rush down the stairs and at the very last moment take a big jump to the side. Straight into his coffin. Out of sight. I do not know for sure that it will be a man. I do know that there is a hole in the ground here somewhere. It was always there, but you see it for the first time, under the Persian rug on which you lay for hours reading as a child. You laugh your head off. Without knowing why. Maybe someone just smiled at you and you smile back. Or you just find a hole in the ground amusing. And now. Where do you want to go? Forward, and back again? Left, or right? You want to look through one of those windows a little longer? Go ahead. Don’t forget to stop by the frozen fountain for a moment. It won't stay frozen forever. Meanwhile, I will make my way past that placard that says "Danger de mort". It stands in the middle of a path. Next to the path is a beautiful garden that cannot be described in words, but that I would love to enter. The placard challenges me. The perspective calls me closer. What could possibly go wrong in a garden? Slipping on a piece of fruit? That could happen, but you are not really serious about being afraid of that, are you? By the way, I don't think it's a garden, it's an orchard. The deeper I dwell in it, the faster time spins backwards. I was happy in that orchard, although I was afraid of the farmer who thought I was an apple thief. Stop. Stop. Looking back is not good. Lingering in memories. Stuttering in your head. Much more dangerous than a piece of fruit. You are right. There is danger lurking around the corner here. What about that lonely knife? That coffin that could fall at any moment? That tower looks pretty shaky too. Nonsense, you say! Paintings and drawings aren't dangerous?! But they are. You can severely cut yourself on the edges. Or strain your neck if they don't hang at eye level. Like in this place. Indeed, they don't. Well noted. No mistake about it. Oh, my! Close your eyes. You better not look at that picture, or else you'll be exposed yourself. Make up your mind. Do you want to eyeball that woman or not? Before you know it, you'll get busted. Maybe you can ask her politely if you can glance between her legs. If you look, you are an accomplice. If you don't look as well. You'd rather return to your steps, wouldn't you? Typical. Alright then. Have it your way. No. Stay with me just a little longer. Look. Here are some words to hang on to. More than two in fact: "There are those who stay and those who go." Are there? Who does the shifting? Who fills in the names at the dashes? The man with the beard and glasses on the cloth bag? Is he fooling us? Or is he trying to teach mores? So it was him all along. Now the genie is out of the bottle, the saint in the chimney, the Christmas tree on the pole. A lot is becoming clear to me: he's playing a double game! That double back was a giveaway. Two rectangles. Two bottoms. Two pears. And yes: two lemons also. One small and one large. Mother and child? Or did one lemon imagine the other? Would it like to be bigger and yellower? On closer inspection, the one pear is also a bit softer and more sensual than the other. The perfect double does not exist. Also, the idea that someone would be the exact same as you! That's almost as terrible as the thought of complete loneliness. Rest assured. In this place, a piece of fruit rarely comes alone. Neither does an accident. You are right. No, no, he doesn't mean to plunge you in misfortune, to lead you astray, to present you with a riddle. He is reaching out to you, throwing you a line, aiming for your senses. He may laugh out loud, ask for silence even before you have said something and claim that he does not need your language, but still he would like to know what you think, to slow down your gaze, take things seriously, on second sight. Why else draw and paint? He is frisky, can't help but love stripes and curves, going from banal to bold to carnal in one and the same movement. In his world, brown bananas float in blue, a small Christmas tree poses as a proud maypole, and belt buckle becomes a collar. Can you feel that? It's like that. It's like that. He's impossible? Maybe. But is it his fault if you keep crashing into the impossibility? You are too easily offended. He places obstacles in your path, but how else can he lead you to long for the image, for him, for the world beyond the drawing? His planes wish to become a space, his dots want to bubble up under your touch, and his flags yearn for a gust of wind. Perhaps one lemon dreams of being real and mistakenly thinks that the other lemon is more real and therefore freer. Does not every image desire to become real and live fully for a moment, or does reality just want to be captured in an image and thus be permanent, persistent? An eternally rotting banana. Imagine. Talk about an impossibility. By the way, you yourself are impossible. You don't have to forgive everything, but have some compassion after all. It's not a question of whether he's right, stretching the truth, or taking you for a ride. Look again. He is looking for traces himself, erasing his footsteps by walking over them again and again. Do you happen to remember yourself from where you entered, what the shortest way back is, supposing you want to take it? The entrance is also the exit? Of course it is. I've been saying that all along. The opposites cancel each other out, making room for a possibility, a way out of not-knowing, by hanging in there, sharing some laughter, being happy. So, linger a while longer. There is so much I still want to say.

Isolde Vanhee, 2021

Peter Morrens likes to rebuild his exhibition spaces. For the second time this year, after the very tasteful exhibition in the Warande, he took the gallery space in hand. A new route and a number of thorough blockades make this gallery visit a surprising total experience. He "closes" the gallery spaces at unexpected places , presents more than 50 new works and installations and shows again his versatile side.

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