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Recollections in Colour

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Francois de Necker – Art as Coincidental Abstraction


“To me, the greatest challenge is to paint the same subject over and over, and have it look completely different every time.”

With a history of impact on the local arts scene dating back to the early seventies, celebrated Namibian artist, Francois de Necker, makes no secret of the facts that “art is hard work” and creativity doesn’t simply flow when summoned. Inspired by what he calls “coincidence”, the artist says, “I don’t follow a standard reference and hardly ever start a new artwork with a predetermined idea of what I’m going to paint. My art is the result of a coincidental meeting of imagination and potential, where, once I’ve made contact and started the dialogue between myself and the painting, the shapes and forms flow, and it feels like there is no end…”

De Necker’s latest exhibition, which took over two years to prepare, reflect the artist’s signature themes and expressions of imaginative local landscapes, but with an adjustment in scale that symbolise a personal transformation to a smaller studio and living space. Presented on vintage paper sourced from France (which has been in the artist’s possession, unused, since 1981), the paintings display recurring elements that have become emblems of de Necker’s work – distinctive shapes and forms, accentuated in vibrant tones and textures, and balanced by carefully placed splashes and scratches of light.

Although hesitant to reveal much about the intention behind his work, preferring the viewers to connect to the artwork in their own manner, the artist does share that each of his paintings is blessed with two lives: the first when it is created, and the second when its new owner becomes immersed in what others have called, “a contemplative world of abstraction”, which allows for a fresh interpretation of the artwork. It is this very skill of opening up his artworks to the viewer that has lead aesthetes to compare the artist’s representation of abstraction to “…a form of visual distillation without disconnecting from ‘reality’, that most elusive of constructs in art”. (Professor André du Pisani, noted during his keynote speech at the opening of Forms & Figures, 2016).

In combination with his paintings, De Necker’s latest body of work also feature a collection of what he calls, “flat-sculpture” – a tongue-in-the-cheek term for three-dimensional montages compiled with discarded material, and creative outlet that has formed part of his personal practice since the start of his career.

De Necker has exhibited throughout Southern Africa and Europe and his work features in both public and private collections. In addition to his reputation as established artist, De Necker played a key role in developing arts education in Namibia – from teaching art as a subject, to initiating a number of creative institutions, including the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Namibia and the Tulipamwe International Artists Workshop. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Bank Windhoek Triennial for his continuous contribution to the local arts sector.

Find below the PDF catalogue.




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