5000 years ago, someone wrote with nails.
Since 2003, someone has been painting with nails …
ARTIST & WORKS
Kris Vercruysse studied to be a graphic designer at the Higro in Ghent and completed a four-year Applied Arts course at the academy of the same city (KASK).
He settled in Roeselare where he has been creating his own field of work in visual communication since 1985. He also teaches at the local academy.
In 1993, he decided to take up painting again. Originally, his work is lyrically abstract, characterised by layers of pastel paint that are displaced, causing underlying layers to reappear.
In 2003, Vercruysse decided to build up his abstract paintings and, following this, his figurative work from dots. He sees these dots as having unlimited meaning and being essential to the existence of everything that was or is.
What is unseen is that the dots are created by pricking or pushing nails onto a stencil, which then rests under the canvas. The dots become visible on the canvas where the nails touch the fabric and the applied layers of paint are rubbed off.
According to Vercruysse, pricking is an underestimated creative or artistic act. Pricking or puncturing has been a purely human activity since time immemorial and of all cultures, and it may be rewarded with some kind of satisfaction or pleasure. Think of body decorations such as piercing skin, piercings, dots, tattoos that consist of a succession of pricked dots and today... the coronavirus jab. We are also familiar with pricks and pins from our childhood when, as children, we pricked shapes onto a mat. More specifically and in art terms, we are familiar with the work of Lucio Fontana and a few others.
The artist himself sees his work as two-fold, namely prick art and painting united under what he himself calls nail painting.
A constant question in the exhibited paintings is therefore: is it a special technique? Never seen before? Pointillism? Screen printing?
After many dozens of uninterrupted exhibitions, no one ever knew how the paintings were created...
The painter chose to talk about his "nail painting" only after 15 years, not only because this gave him the chance to grow and make it his own, but also because it wasn't something he could explain in a few minutes.
Behind all of this, of course, is an enormous knowledge of materials and, above all, an unprecedented Métier.