van Bergen, Thé

crox 70, Schilderkunst Hedendaags Belgisch - nov/dec 1997.

crox 159, solo project - December 2005. Paintings. Simultaneous with the second project of Jos Van Meerssche (crox 160) and a project by Stef De Brabander in the cube (crox 161).
Fragment from a conversation with Jan Debbaut (Schilderijen [Paintings], Ed. Internationaal Cultureel Centrum Antwerpen, 1984):
-JD: I seem to know that in the early seventies you were strongly influenced by the fundamental painting, particularly by the white paintings by Robert Ryman.
-TvB: As I said I arrived at a point where I realised the process I had went through meant I had step by step broken down the recognisable image into simple painterly elements which I used again to (re)construct an image.  -----
-JD: How did you give a new shape to that confusion after meeting with Rymans work?  
-TvB: I sought out new opportunities and I'm very conscious I didn't know what would be the final result or the final meaning of the resulting image. I was working associatively and experimented with all kinds of things. Useless things I left out and other, more fascinating ones I started to use over and over again. So the work got more and more repetitive. Technically, concerning the treatment of the oils, I went ahead quite uncontrolled, which created a problem with the substance matter. Oils left me at a standstill. So I switched abruptly to acrylics, avoiding those problems. Precisely the minimalistic use of matter that acrylics allow was attractive for my repetitive work. For years I painted endless series confronting one element - say, a dash - with a countermovement. Endless variations of layerdness. Moreover that seemed to fit into a kind of fashion; it attracted quite some attention. ----- Now the action of painting properly has become my core of attention. No longer the repetition of a toucher as in the serial works but the large gestures encompassing the whole canvas. That way, the resulting image gains formal coherence.  
Composition - which I had lost in earlier paintings and made me lose track of one of the historic qualities of classical painting - has found its way in by other means. 
Lots of considerations come about by practical ways now. I'm guided by circumstances because that's what interests me now. /1984/
'In the middle of the seventies Thé van Bergen question painting as a medium in its constituent elements. --- From the early eighties elementary signs and motives appear, being logical consequences of material form as well as intuitive shapoes or gestalts. A curved line becomes a bow or a gate and evolves into a head (or cup) later localised in a boat - all  of them suggested only by a few lines.   --- In the recent works () almost obsessionally repeated motives such as the gripping or giving hand with a bunch of grapes, the square or the branch, the eye of a cat or an inquisitor, legs and arms sometimes associated with ropes or hoops, hte head in the boat.' (Florent Bex; Thé van Bergen - au Paradis; Ed. MUHKA 2002)