Reggui, Orléans, La République du Centre, March 15 1968

Guillaume Leunens occupies a unique position in the world of painting. In the first place, the parents of this Belgian painter were workers and he himself was a worker in a foundry. He kept of his origins and of his time as a factory worker the fundamental qualities of a conscientious and skilled worker respecting the material he is working with: either colors or metal. His attitude towards reality is that of a person knowing the inestimable price of everything. His intention is to express it in its complexity, however not without a certain creative inspiration that establishes it firmly and enlarges it until it becomes a unique universe of capturing beauty.

In the second place, the autodidact Guillaume Leunens has developed, through his own experiments, an outstanding technique: more thanks to the expertise of the artisan than to that of the artist who is full of the teachings of whatever art school. His oil paintings, which we will not see at the exhibition, and his metals, are the results of influences – Breughel, van Gogh and Permeke – under which he came during his visits to museums and during his technological apprenticeship as an adolescent.

This blend of the experienced and the acquired has created a synthesis of techniques, which results in the use of aluminum in form of large sheets stretched on a frame. They will not fail to immediately surprise the visitor. However, the eyes finally enter the harmonious play of modulations ranging from black over a diversity of metallic gray shades to silver. This voluntary deprivation, which does not lack an analogy with that of contemporary music, is of a certain pathetic greatness in spite of the material used: aluminum.

In this choice lies yet another reason for Guillaume Leunens originality: having expressed, in an admirable way, through « metal »…, the two fundamental notions of the art of painting: space and movement. This he achieves through a series of bumps and hollows with stripes in all directions across them, which captivate the light and reproduce it in different shades, whose obscure shimmer creates all kinds of variations emphasizing the relief and making it palpable and mobile. The dominant impression is that of a meteoric universe which already reflects a world that is felt by anticipation.

Guillaume Leunens has displayed his works many times in Brussels, as of last month, as well as in Paris, in Tunis and in Spain. The inauguration of his exhibition in Orléans will take place this Friday, at 4 o’clock pm, salle Péguy, in the presence of the artist who will readily converse with the visitors this afternoon and Saturday.

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