Pakhuis, Ghent, Belgium
When painting a portrait, one starts from a model, aiming to create something similar and recognizable. Judgment depends on the resemblance of the artwork and the portrayed. Piet Van wants to distance himself from this way of working. He no longer wants to make portraits, but still wants to paint figures, however not dependent on a photo or a model. He wants to be able to manipulate the works. He starts from existing photos of women and then compares, for example, the nose of an African woman with that of a European woman. Also, he makes the distinction between an Italian and Norwegian nose, etcetera. He does the same for the skeleton, eyes, chin and figure. He makes a collage without the spectator seeing it is a collage. Because it cannot be a caricature, he combines the most beautiful mouth with the most beautiful nose of the various feminine characteristics from the world, bringing them all together. He created 25 idealized women and the question arises whether all hetero-men would be satisfied with these. Piet’s goal is that everyone should find his taste in these women. The idea was that not a single man left the exhibition without seeing a beautiful woman. The result was that in the 25 women who did not exist, you could find striking similarities with existing top models, because of the combination of the most beautiful features. Many visitors thought that the black women were a portrait based on Naomi Campbell, while there was nothing of her in it.
During the project, Piet Van evolves. In his latest works certain parts are simply painted white without shadow. It is difficult for him to make several similar works in a concept.