Xavier Noiret-Thomé and Henk Visch
September 03, 2020 – February 21, 2021
CENTRALE presents an original dialogue between two artists: Xavier Noiret-Thomé and Henk Visch. Brussels-based French artist Xavier Noiret-Thomé creates paintings and assemblages that feed on knowledge, experience and stated influences. He has chosen to invite Dutch sculptor, draughtsman and painter Henk Visch. To him, the sculptures he creates, both monumental and miniature, are akin to human thought. The two artists converge in their approaches, which combine a fascination for the history of painting and sculpture and a constant search for the mysteries of the creative process.
Xavier Noiret-Thomé‘s greatly-diversified work mixes art and life. His creations combine moments lived and images of his environment with formal, stylistic, or conceptual quotations. References to the history of art and to the tutelary figures of painting simultaneously unfold in figurative and abstract works, in a gesture which is as much iconophilic as its iconoclastic, as much scholarly as it is familiar. In this endless quest and experimentation, techniques merge together – oil, acrylic, lacquer, spray paint, chromium, ink, the addition of objects – to create protean sculpture-objects. The resulting pieces are sometimes very simple or, to the contrary, very complex, escaping determinism and comfort alike. This diversity also characterizes the work of Henk Visch, who practises sculpture representing human or animal figures on the one hand, and assembling heterogeneous objects/forms in more abstract, surrealist works on the other hand.
The invitation extended by Xavier Noiret-Thomé to Henk Visch reveals the affinities between the two artists: the vital energy deployed in their creation and the metaphysical dimension of their work anchored in their own experience, questioning the place of mankind in society and the universe. The exhibition is split into five chapters: Le lieu de la pensée (the place of thought), Le miroir du monde (the mirror of the world), Le corridor des voyants (the corridor of seers), La vitrine du déjà-vu (the showcase of déjà-vu) and La fosse métaphysique (the metaphysical pit). This voyage allows discovering the respective works of both artists while unfolding a narrative on the very essence of creation. Around fifty works by Xavier Noiret-Thomé, thirty works by Henk Visch, as well as two films, one by Joachim Olender on Noiret-Thomé’s work, the other by Frans Weisz on that of Henk Visch, will be exhibited.
Xavier Noiret-Thomé (1971, Charleville-Mézières, France, lives and works in Brussels) is a visual artist. From 1990 to 1995, he studied at the École régionale des Beaux-Arts de Rennes before earning a residency at the Centre d’Art contemporain du domaine de Kerguéhennec. In 1996, he was laureate of the Villa Medici extra muros. From 1996 to 1997, he joined the residencies of Amsterdam’s Rijksakademie. In 1999, he obtained a workshop at the Paul Gauguin Museum in Pont-Aven. In 2001, he was awarded the Levis award on the occasion of the Young Belgian Art Prize at Brussels’ Palais des Beaux-Arts. And in 2005, he was laureate of the Académie de France in Rome and obtained a residency at the Villa Medici. Since the beginning of his career, he has had many solo and group exhibitions in Brussels (BOZAR, Musée d’Ixelles, Galerie Valérie Bach, Galerie Baronian-Francey, Roberto Polo Gallery, etc.), Antwerp (MUKHA, Galerie Marion De Cannière, Lieven Segers Studio, etc.), Charleroi (Incise, Palais des Beaux-Arts de Charleroi), but also internationally (Galerie Tanit, Munich, Germany; Galerie Quatre, Arles, France; Galerie Philippe Casini & Galerie Jennifer Flay Paris, France; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tourcoing, France; Musée Arthur Rimbaud, Charleville-Mézières, France; AD Gallery, Athens, Greece; Fri-Art, Fribourg, Switzerland; Gallery Nicola von Seger, Zurich, Switzerland etc.). His work is part of several public and private collections. In total, the artist has had a total of almost 20 solo exhibitions since 1989. Since 2005, Xavier Noiret-Thomé is professor in the painting section at La Cambre art school in Brussels.
Henk Visch (1950, Eindhoven) is a sculptor, draughtsman and graphic artist who lives and works in Eindhoven. His artistic career began after his studies at the Royal Academy of Art and Design (department of graphic art) in Hertogenbosch (NL), which he completed between 1968 and 1972. The artist has had a total of more than 100 solo exhibitions since 1981. He enjoys an international career and has shown his work in such renowned exhibitions as the Dutch Pavilion at the 1988 Venice Biennale or Kassel’s Dokumenta IX in 1992. His art pieces can be found in numerous private collections and international museums. In parallel, he also developed an important academic career. From 1984 to 1987, Henk Visch was a lecturer at Amsterdam’s Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten and from 1987 to 1991 at Maastricht’s Jan van Eyck Academy. From 1995 to 2001, he was professor at Stuttgart’s Staatliche Akademie der Bildende Künste and from 2005 to 2017, at Münster’s Hochschule für Bildende Künste. The artist also takes part in many workshops: in 2013 he was invited to give a conference at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing; and in 2019 he was invited by the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts (SIVA). He has been awarded several prizes: that of the city of Darmstadt in 1991; that of the Noord-Brabant department of Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds in 2001 and also the Jeanne Oosting Prize in 2018. Visch also produces illustrations in the Volkskrant in collaboration with Kader Abdolah for many years.