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oil on canvas

290 cm x 180.5 cm x 3 cm

Verheyen was born on 6 July 1932 in Lier with an eye disease. Very quickly as a child he already experienced it that colour and light helped him to see better. That is then also the reason why during his entire career as an artist Verheyen has adhered to two elements; in his paintings he would ‘capture’ the light as it were. ‘I paint in order to see’ became Verheyens slogan. With respect to ideology, his abstract, late-Modernist works closely relate to the Zero-movement, a group of artists established by the Germans Heinz Mack and Otto Piene in 1957, and the art of Lucio Fontana, Pierre Manzoni and Ives Klein. With a number of the artists, including Klein, Verheyen maintained close contact during his life. He also exhibited with them a number of times outside of Belgium. (At home, Verheyen was for the most part misunderstood). All of them set themselves against the avant-garde movements of the time (the lyrical abstract, the American abstract Expressionism, CobrA, and so forth). They wanted to return to the origins of the abstract, namely how they were formulated in Russia around 1915 with constructivist artists such as Malevich and Tatlin. With respect to technique, however, Verheyen held firmly onto the traditional, craftsmen’s materials for painting—in contrast to the Zero movement and its adherents.
At the end of the 1970’s, when he found himself in the Provence, Verheyen paints illusionistic, weightless spaces as it were that are constructed by diagonals. Abysses (1979) from the Mu.ZEE collection is an example of this. The entire painting consists of blue tints that gradually become lighter towards the upper side of the work. A diagonal transects the dark-blue zone below on the canvas and seems to disappear in proportion to the image surface becoming clearer.

CC BY (Creative Commons 4.0)

Other artworks of this artist

Espace flamand gris
Dia Gon
Black Space