“The truly wise man could enjoy the whole spectacle of the world from his armchair; he wouldn't need to talk to anyone or to know how to read, just how to make use of his five senses and a soul innocent of sadness,” wrote Fernando Pessoa in his Fragments d’un voyage immobile. Fabien Verschaere invite us to such dreamlike adventures in Le Voyage Immobile, his exhibition at Galerie RX. Besides Pessoa, it is the desire, described by Gilles Deleuze in his Abécédaire, to which Verschaere alludes in his work. The philosopher said, “I don’t desire a woman, I also desire a landscape that is enveloped in this woman, a landscape that, if need be – I don’t know – but that I can feel. As long as I haven’t yet unfolded the landscape that envelops her, I will not be happy, that is, my desire will not have been attained.” With such greediness and such a desire to tie stories from his daily life, the artist Fabien Verschaere intuitively staged a gallery of strange, fantastic and proliferating creatures. A universe, of which he is in the center with his close friends, and where he is recognized by his reddish-brown beard appropriate for an evil fairy tale.
All his creatures, whether it is an animal, a plant or an inorganic substance, seem to erupt from a volcanic horn of abundance and assume multiple meanings. To decrypt them, the viewer should choose a rule. Intertwined with each other, every form seems to generate the next in a logic that could be a dream or a nightmare. In this agglomeration of semi-grotesque figures that appeal to our collective memory, we cross popular culture as much as myths and legends which traverse Europe, Africa or Asia. All these knowledges form a whole which ignores the boundaries and brings us back to an overall and universal culture. As for the artist, regularly visited by his angels as well as by his demons, he summons us through his drawings, his watercolors and his paintings, in the limbo of his unconscious. In this universe propitious to metamorphosis, Freud and his Uncanny, Bruno Bettelheim and his The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, but also the Surrealists are never far away.
It brings us back to a childhood, filled with irrational fears, fantasies and reminiscences. Perhaps we are invited to the castle of Beauty and the Beast revised by Jean Cocteau, unless it is the haunted manor of the Addams family with a Commedia dell'arte in the Disney syle. If popular culture is very present, we also think of James Ensor and his carnival characters, Brueghel or Jerome Bosch, with his enigmatic scenes. For this exhibition, the artist pays particular homage to the Bosch with his own version of The Temptation of Saint Anthony. He also presents a series of paintings with a red background which reminds us of the walls of Buddhist temples painted in this vital color, meaning luck in Asia.
To the drawings, paintings and watercolors presented by the artist are added the fresco "One more time" that he specially designed for Galerie RX. All these works remind us that the desire is the essential engine of this incredible journey which is, life.