DENIS DE MOT
Denis De Mot truly is an artist out of the ordinary. Indeed, his art is figurative only by allusion, whereas abstraction refers to the natural world that he contemplates through the filter of his own sensitivity. As a result, the distinction between figuration and abstraction, which has been so common over the past century, does not apply to the essence of his work. So, where did he find his inspiration when he started painting as a self-taught artist twenty-five years ago?
When one listens to the artist interviewed by Caroline Bricmont (after two previous catalogues in 2009 and 2016, in which the artist answered the questions from Martine Ehmer and Yves De Vresse), one understands how the conflicting – and yet so fertile – relationship between lines and surface, between the drawn lines and the colorful background, is important to him. What will become of this adversarial confrontation? Here is certainly the question that Denis De Mot asks himself every day while he is painting, having no figurative reference at that point. Yet, he manages to answer that question! Notwithstanding the fact that the shapes emerging from his imagination could actually intuitively correspond to some unknown natural assemblages!
Denis De Mot belongs to a generation of Belgian artists who have produced some of the most fertile art.The Gaston Bertrand Foundation recognized this artistic merit and value by awarding him the biennial prize in 2021.
Serge Goyens de Heusch – october 2022
Denis De Mot : Paintings 2017-2022
Having been in contact with Denis De Mot (1955) and his work for some twenty years, let us venture to discover the spirit – and constancy – that have always been deeply rooted in his approach.
This self-taught painter
from Brussels defines his work as a slowness exercise, magnified by the artist over the territory of his medium, in the spirit of the American all-over that he so much enjoys. This is where (long) Time meets Space and its infinity and where, at the same time, the short time of the gesture itself generates a trace of movement and vitality.
The artist expresses this close intertwining by working his support in depth until he reaches the very true substance of it. Denis De Mot paints in successive layers, beginning the composition with the most resistant material (an acrylic base), to follow with a softer and more pliable one (gouache). He combines a series of incisions and scratches with repeated sanding processes. These various techniques go hand in hand with and indispensable wait, depending on the specific nature of each medium. In the words of the artist: “It is about evoking the accidents of life”. In fact, a spiritual and trustful quest is undeniably at the heart of his work.
So, why do the last five years stand out for their distinctiveness and singularity?
The artist’s intention is always to “make the past reappear” and to submit memory to the proof of time.
It seems like Denis De Mot might have come across Plato’s definition of Time.
“Time is the moving image of an immutable eternity”.
Indeed, the latest compositions seem to allude to such conceptual merging between Time and Space.
Through the expression of his individual symbolism, the artist actually invites us to reach this awareness.
The observer can notice a more pronounced evenness of the background, which is almost free of any accident or roughness from the past. It is a way of highlighting the fact that long Time can actually amount to Eternity. Has not humankind always tried to define this concept without ever reaching any definitive certainty? Denis De Mot comes up with his own vision, which on several occasions takes the form of iridescent grey monochrome shades.
The time of the gesture also takes on a new form of expression. Indeed, the lines now take the form of interlacing or complex meshes, articulated in quadrilaterals or triangles that seem to be hanging on tensioned ropes.
Their blurred appearance and repetition act as an evocation of movement and, on a spiritual level, even reflect an active expectation for some inexpressible stakes. In so doing, one might say that Denis De Mot introduces some unprecedented depth and symbolism, hitherto unseen in his paintings.
Long Time and Eternity intimately merge with the Time of Life and its precariousness, but also with its inherent and conquering quest for meaning.
Michel Van Lierde, October 2022
Denis De Mot’s paintings on pvc panel demonstrate an innate sense of harmony and elegance. In itself his work is in no way revolutionary; rather, it radiates a meditative calm. Of course, we would not have been able to look at these paintings with such fascination if there were not a little unruliness here and there to make the painted surface more interesting. Scratches, irregularities, peeling… It is as if the works on display are isolated fragments of a greater reality. The beauty of the rugged surface goes hand in hand with chromatic subtlety. Sheer class.
Yves de Vresse
Denis De Mot shows sequences of flatness. He signposts an earthly journey. And the ochre respirations, the red density tattooed on a light white ring, the vibration of a very tactile grey partition, the season of a clod of clay crumbling on top… everything speaks to us of presence in the world. The work of Denis De Mot is this planet in which streams bathe in humus. De Mot is not a realist; yet his sole and unyielding banner is seamed with furrows and earthly fervour. To be seen as a seal of promised fertility. Jo
Dustin, art critic
Denis De Mot faces and confronts in his own way, which is one of great patience. He admits to being slow; I would rather say wise, for this artist uses time passing like a data-base for never-finished research. On his neutral PVC boards, with discreetly presented colours, he connects time’s vestiges, signs and shadows, slight things, but essential, and the visitor slips off into the past. Exposing his work for several years now, he never tires of revisiting the imperceptible traces of life. He treats them in a reflective manner, paying particular attention to the final aspect which is as much continuous dissolving as it is dissimilation that deceives the viewer and leads him away from truths too raw and certainties too absolute. Far removed from bright colours, Denis De Mot, fiercely self-taught, concedes he “constructs time”. An exhibit in which time suspends its flight…
Anita Nardon, art critic