Jo De Smedt in dialogue with the work of front painter Jos Verdegem and a selection of Trench Art
The "Section Artistique de l'Armee Belge" was founded on 23 June 1916. This group of World War I front painters had the task of depicting the facts and life on the Iron Front. Propaganda and documentary representation were the main aim of the Belgian Army.
(2 drawings by Jos Verdegem made in Lo 1917, on display in this exhibition).
Verdegem's style was very diverse, he liked experimenting, so his work was not always understood by the outsider. After the war, he continued to experiment with styles and colour. Jos Verdegem is the painter of human tragedy with the related suffering.
Being human, 'La Condition Humaine', is the red thread in Jo De Smedt's work and is also the link to Jos Verdegem's work. In his new etchings and drawings, De Smedt shows the psyche of man, human behaviour. No cheerful scenes, but laced with 'black' humour, which confronts man with his own weakness. Images of pigs, skulls, magpies, blind chickens, fiery-eyed creatures and the word "AFZIEN".
Both artists depict "raw" reality, each in their own way. They don’t beat around the bush. A man is a man, foolishness his best friend.
There was not only fighting at the front. During the long waiting periods in the trenches, soldiers made Trench Art out of all kinds of military objects. It helped them psychologically cope with the daily horror. The military material was often decorated with flowers, ornaments, loving messages to loved ones. The material and the imagery are each other's opposites. This creates a dialogue that is authentic.
Even in unbearable times, a human being needs beauty.
Jo De Smedt, 12/2022
Exhibition ‘VUUR’ 22.01/26.02.2023 at gallery De Ziener, 1730 Asse
Jo De Smedt in dialogue with the work of front painter Jos Verdegem and a selection of Trench Art.
Jo De Smedt in dialogue with the work of front painter Jos Verdegem
Location: Stationsstr., 55, 1730 Mollem