PIETER SONNEMANS painter/graphic artist.


  Pieter Sonnemans evokes in his paintings an uncanny, strange and menacing world which is ours.
A world full of pain and angst, of living on the edge of the abyss.
A world in which man walks about lost, subject to become the victim of devastating powers.

His work can be positioned in the extension of Kokoschka's and Soutine's arts of painting. Kokoschka's painting "die Wintzbraut" and Soutine's canvas "de geslachte os" (the slaughtered ox) mark a path that Pieter Sonnemans walks down too.

In his screen prints Pieter Sonnemans seems, in a more circumspect manner to evoke a world that is mythical and dreamy, ethereal and cautious.
Combined with images, projected by means of a photomechanical process ,large, intense colour areas allow extraordinarily transparent images to materialize, having something graceful though by no means depressing.

What they show is a somewhat lyrical side of the painter.
In these leaves man is an explorer of space, a flying creation losing itself in the infinity of desire.

Pole vaulter, jumping into a blue bestowing eternity, cosmic space, leaving behind the landscape of the earth. Birdfishman, gasping for the blue, searching for his origin, tracks deleted, a leap into uncertainty.

TV images bombard the retina and the painter catching signals, processes them in his paintings, symbols of fear and incantation.
He shows man in his dwelling of flesh and muscles, subject to genetic engineering and brainwashing, doomed to become a robot, an artificial human being controlled by computers and no longer the dreamer full of poetry knowing that a better and different world was within his reach.
Mutilated man, crippled in mind, no longer having his head in the clouds but living with an obliterated mind.

Science fiction has become reality and the painter passes the signals on to his paintings showing how man takes a fatal leap into the dark.
Unlike Icarus climbing to the sun, striving for the absolute, but plummeting into an abyss, Hades, the point of no return.

Writings on the wall, no murals. The archer does not aim at the target, but at the beholder of the painting, who believes to be a target.

Pieter Sonnemans in his own right finds an answer by inventing symbols of dream and reality affecting and moving us.

Thus Pieter Sonnemans draws and paints his symbols, answers the question from times immemorial, the terrifying question put to man by nothingness. It is the old enigma which the sphinx already presented to Oedipus. Man is being interrogated about himself whether he might know the name of that extraordinary creature called man moving through time. Nothingness wants to know if man can hold his own.

A black background that is how Pieter Sonnemans commences his paintings. A board on which he writes, paints, tilting surfaces breaking through black, form a cosmic space of an apocalyptic nature from which man is trying to escape from total destruction.

Man, puppet on a string, entangled in his own imaginations and hallucinations. Quite physical are the bodies appearing, tormented and showing every sign of bewilderment.

Painted in an expressionist manner, expressing unrest and dismay with coarse brush strokes of paint depicting thoughts that yield their meaning only after prolonged contemplation.

As Paul Klee said, "the artist knows a lot but he only knows afterwards". Similarly Pieter Sonnemans only afterwards finds out where his painting originates from and what might be its significance.

Life that wants to be preserved in emblems of the heart, in songs of make believe; it is a strange world that Pieter Sonnemans shows us, it's ours.
Look at it with eyes full of amazement, the eye of imagination that must not die.

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