Category Archives: Exhibitions

Jill Mulleady

The gallery Island in Brussels is showcasing work of artist Jill Mulleady in a solo show “El Dorado” until next Sunday. The artist, who used to be active in theatre, shows her latest work in this exhibition, replacing the canvas by iridescent plastic sheets and integrate painting in installations. 


After intending to become a theater director, she heads back to childhood favourite activity painting and attended the Chelsea College of Art. Her uncle was a painter and stimulated her to paint by giving her brushes with her name engraved on them when she was 8. She moved since her London solo show in 2011, “Painting rituals” (book published at Shelter press) where she still used white canvas but used it as a base for her spontaneous poetic brush strokes.

Wars, 2011 Oil on Canvas 160 x 170cm

Wars, 2011
Oil on Canvas
160 x 170cm




Her new work is cold, plastic but retains this poetic touch and outlandish feeling conveyed through her gesture. In an exhibition in Paris “Et dans une explosion de joie”, you see her brushstrokes adventuring outside the limits of the canvas on the walls, obeying only her personal rules, focussing on the process.


Better to go and see the exhibition for yourself on Chaussée de Wavre in Brussels, but hereunder a couple of pictures from the show, courtesy to Island gallery. She once again conceived the exhibition in situ creating a dialogue between the space and her work.




Island 155 chaussée de Wavre – 1050 Brussels

Jill Mulleady website.



Painting versus Object


Being ourself working on a Painting vs Photography exhibitions (Ponyhof team is back to work after a long maternity leave break!), we got quite caught by the title of Standpoint gallery’s latest exhibition in London: PAINTING-VERSUS-OBJECT running until 8 december. Exploring the added-value of contemporary painting nowadays, we are quite interested in the interaction between painting and the 3D.

The starting point of this exhibition is the same one anyone dealing with contemporary painting would start with. Painting is seen as derelict, “dangerous, anachronistic, overemotional, disengaged with current practice in current academic driven circles.” This is why we often observe a shift to installation, performance or digital media in painting students’ curricula. This being said, any visits to exhibitions, galleries or museum contest this fact and proves that painting is still a valid contemporary practice.

PAINTING-VERSUS-OBJECT looks into the “territory negotiated between painting, painters, objects and the wold they inhabit, from contrasting perspective.” While some artists presented are engaged with collaged paintings (John Holland, Katja Pudor), other are creating painterly constructions (Clare Mitten, Sean Edwards, Mia Taylor) or painted structure (Andy Wicks).

Sadly, we cannot be right now in London and can only rely on the pictures but would encourage you to go if you can and give us your impression, whether it is as good in real as it promises! It finishes on Saturday 8 December though.

45 Coronet St, Hoxton, London N1 6HD

Open Wednesday-Saturday 12-6pm

Until 8 December


Image is everything: introducing Aurélien Dupuis

What changed when photography, with its inherent possibility of straightforward recording, cheap reproductions and easy distribution, demoted painting as the popular medium of representation?

This question was brought up already years ago by Gerhard Richter, who made his first photo painting in 1962 after a picture of Brigitte Bardot. Tired of capital lettered art, composition, colour, invention, design etc., “painting from a photograph seemed to me the most moronic and inartistic thing that anyone could do”, the delightfully lugubrious German explains in The Daily Practice of Painting (p. 22). The above-mentioned question was later re-stated by Peter Doig, Marlene Dumas, Luc Tuymans and many an emerging painter (read Liv Vaisberg’s series on some different outcomes). But I wonder what John Berger would say about the ‘newest’ world, as seen on screen in facebook updates, tumblr feeds, pins, tweets and prolific blogging? Today, any kid can make a visually appealing picture of the most banal event with the help of a concealing vintage filter on his smartphone (FOAM Magazine had an interesting facebook post on this topic recently). Allegedly, a picture is worth more than a thousand words but some photography has developed to convey nothing at all, making it perfect for equally vacant advertising. As visual communication rapidly gains presence and power, the assessment of its influence is even more topical for painters and photographers alike who reflect on contemporary creation and use of images.

Aurélien Dupuis - Madonne no. 1, 28x35 cm, markers on paper

Aurélien Dupuis takes his inspiration from familiar and over-abundant motifs, such as school and workplace portraits (the series ‘48 portraits’, ‘Employé(e)/Medewerker’), real-estate development catalogues (‘Pavillons’), amateur photographs found on flea markets (‘X’), the Internet or social platforms (‘Enfant + chien’, ‘Madonne’, ‘Dormeurs’). He re-creates these widespread images – hackneyed captures of modern life – using ‘slow media’ such as charcoal and children’s markers, preserving the low definition, pixelisation and overexposure of hasted snapshots.

It is precisely the choice of technique that makes his work compelling despite the uneventful topics, by introducing complexity and pathos. At a first glance, the colourful children’s markers connote a feeling of babyhood nostalgia, but paradoxically, there is also something absurd of a trained painter playing with toys when he could make art, using proper materials. Also his choice of subject is ambiguous. On the one hand, these are pictures of people and situations of no particular charm or consequence. On the other, the painter must think that they are worthy of consideration as he spends so much time and effort re-creating them.

Aurélien Dupuis, Zone Pv_R 11, charcoal on paper, 100x70 cm

Further uncertainty is brought by the fact that Aurélien works in series and with repetitions, which both simulate and challenge the mechanic use of images in media and on the Internet, given the considerable labour that went into the re-creation of the given images.

Moreover, when watching his series, I am often pulled into one picture in particular. When meeting with Aurélien some weeks ago, I asked if the picture of my attraction was better known than the others — it was not, but he guessed that maybe my own memories were projected into the ‘eye-catching’ picture.

Aurélien Dupuis, 'Enfant+chien n°11', markers on paper, 138x120cm

Aurélien does, however, sometimes work from famous pictures: the posers of ‘Enfant + Chien’, for instance, are all anonymous but one, which was made after Andrei Tarkovsky’s polaroid of his family. By showing how certains ‘kodak moments’ repeat themselves, how certain actions become engrained into our culture and habits, the series is put into perspective.

The quality of Aurélien’s work lies precisely in its openness for contradictory interpretations (quite interestingly, in the art world, «confusing» is often close to «compelling», whereas words such as «decorative», «aesthetic» and «commercial» can be used as strong criticism).

On an ending note, I can reveal that in the framework of POPPOSITIONS, Aurélien Dupuis has prepared a series inspired by Belgian administrative clerks for whom the Bruxelles Congrès station was created. If you are in town during the Art Brussels week, come and see the result as well as the works of other emerging artists.

POPPOSITIONS off fair is on at Bruxelles Congrès from 20-22 April, 12-9 PM, with a Friday opening party and performances by invited guests from 9 PM until late. The full programme is updated at the website

— Aleksandra Eriksson Pogorzelska —

Ponyhof at POPPOSITIONS off fair (2)

As was announced in the previous post, Ponyhof will participate in POPPOSITIONS, a brand new off-fair taking place during Art Brussels and exhibiting galleries and other spaces working with site-specific exhibitions. The quirky architecture and spirit of the venue — the Bruxelles Congrès railway station — will constitute the context for showing and seeing the different works.

Not your usual art fair, POPPOSITIONS will host maximum seven galleries and other platforms presenting two artists each: this rule is meant to forestall visual overload. We therefore asked Aurélien Dupuis and Karen Vermeren to represent us. They are both trained as painters but tend to use other mediums than oil whilst keeping a ‘painterly’ quality in their practice, thereby presenting two original approaches to contemporary painting.

Bruxelles Congrès Station, credit: Sarah Suco Torres

Inspired by the station’s underground atmosphere, ribbed stone columns and humid climate, Karen suggested a project linking Congrès to the caves of Han in southern Belgium. As we set forth on this blog already, Karen takes her inspiration from natural sights and tries to capture their beauty and mystery as well as their physical structure and substance, the history and processes that shaped them. Caves play a special role in art history: as venues of some of the earliest examples of painting, as quarries providing sculptors with marble. However, Karen’s interest is primarily geological: she conducts thorough research in order to understand how her subjects function and incorporates these insights into her artistic practice. Tape enables her to create depth and portray the tectonic structure and underlying layers of the mountains that she often chooses as her topics, while her choice of colours and composition provides her work with a “painterly” impression. Finally, Karen always works with site-specific works inserting references to the exhibition space into the work on display. This way, viewers strolling around the exhibition are made aware of both their visual borders and the venue in general.

Welcome back tomorrow for a presentation of Aurélien’s work!

POPPOSITIONS off fair is on at Bruxelles Congrès from 20-22 April, 12-9 PM, with a Friday opening party and performances by invited guests from 9 PM until late. Participants include: Dougie Eynon & Nicolas Bourthoumieux (Abilene Gallery), Gérard Meurant (or nothing), Jan Kempenaers & Sarah Van Marcke (Outlandish), Aurélien Dupuis & Karen Vermeren (Ponyhof Gallery), Stephanie Lagarde & Cyril Verde (thankyouforcoming) and Alan Fertil & Damien Teixidor (The Ister), as well as Théophile’s Papers, Document and Villa Léopolda. A programme of art talks, including curators Devrim Bayar (WIELS, Le Salon) and Emmanuel Lambion (Maison Grégoire, Bn Projects) as well as Agata Jastrząbek and the artist Kenneth Andrew Mroczek on the latter’s book ‘Y€$, I see stars’ and the aesthetics of the public place in Brussels, will be made available on the POPPOSITIONS website
Entry is free and open for all!

See us at POPPOSITIONS off fair (20-22 April, Brussels)

Nicolas Van Kerckhove’s painterly loitering

Live in Ghent, or planning to travel through? Don’t miss the exhibition of Ponyhof painter Nicolas Van Kerckhove at De Zebrastraat.

Nicolas’ recent work is a contemplation of the abundance of pictures generated by the Internet, many of whom are very boring — like the captures dispatched by a google street view webcam showing a snow-laden road at different times of the day, or the profile picture of a teenager on skype. Nicolas explained to me that their banality first disappointed, then attracted him: there was a possibility of something happening, someone entering the frame, the profile picture changing to the better. This sense of waiting — ranging from great expectations to simple loitering — hovers over his paintings, providing per se uneventful topics with a very poetic quality.

The very gifted photographer Joke De Wilde visited Nicolas in his studio as he was getting ready for the show. We are very happy to present some of her pictures on the Ponyhof blog.

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The exhibition is on at De Zebrastraat (32/001, 9000 Ghent) from 1 March to 1 April 2012, opening on 1 March at 20.00

Read our text on the uncanniness of Nicolas’ work and visit our website to see more of his work.

Ponyhof ZondagsGalerij #3: Wouter van de Koot “The Switch”

Ponyhof Gallery shows for its third edition of its ZondagsGalerij works of Wouter van de Koot, who graduated in painting from the Academy of Fine Art in Utrecht (The Netherlands) in an exhibition titled “The Switch”. This exhibition follows  “Cheating Changes” the first Sunday Gallery, a group show with Céline Felga, Jens Hesse and Joseph Jessen, and the second one “Decorative Violence”, a solo show of Valerie Dubois.

The show aims to unveil his process in reproducing images that he initially staged himself and always seeks to re-use.  The exhibition is also meant to be a challenge for the viewer to follow Wouter in his process, to compare the pictures with one another and to make the visual switch.

Van de Koot’s  re- working of an image enables him to take distance and to treat the initial personal and emotionally laden subject matter more and more like an object. In this process he diminishes or sublimates the role of subject in such a way as to allow form a chance to take center stage. In essence, form becomes the subject. He wants to see how far he can get towards the abstract without losing his own feeling with the image.