Fabrice Samyn Alors que tu es le temps, installation view, Musées royaux des beaux-arts de Belgique, Brussels, 2021.
Photo : Kristien Daem, courtesy of the artist

Fabrice Samyn: Where Mystic Materiality Meets Subconscious Projections

Sûrya Buis
“Mysticism is born from the disaster of identities,”1 1 - Daniel Vidal, “Michel de Certeau, La fable mystique, xvıe-xvııe siècle, tome II,” Archives de sciences sociales des religions 168 (2014, our translation), accessible online. art critic Daniel Vidal notes in regards to the work of Jesuit philosopher Michel de Certeau. This idea is in dialogue with the practice of Fabrice Samyn, a Belgian multidisciplinary artist working in sculpture and painting whose artistic approach is sustained by contemporary mythologies and paintings from past centuries. Such an antithetical encounter creates a mysticism of forms and materials whose expression is complex and whose aesthetic emphasizes the permanent immutable.

Inseparable from the collective imagination and deep-rooted convictions, the allegories put forward in Fabrice Samyn’s works relate to a Western conception of temporality and put new life into our mental images by shifting symbolic motifs. For Samyn, the referential ambiguity transforms the artworks into unique entities endowed with animism, to the extent that their material nature seems to vibrate with a vital energy. With respect to tradition — particularly religious tradition — the artist adopts a simultaneously deferential and subversive attitude: not afraid to play with chronological discrepancies and popular secular references, his art practice doesn’t exclude irony. As a mythographer, he examines the ideological construction of icons and their concretization in reality and thus enjoys dismantling our prejudices against religious iconography while also underlining the esoteric power of such images. 

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This article also appears in the issue 105 - New New Age

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