Incidentally insights 1
Patrick Ceyssens

Incidentally Insights #1

Zwarte Spierebeek


GPS coordinates artwork: 50°42'58.6"N 3°21'18.9"E

A corten steel grid image (4.5 by 2.2 metres) amalgamating memories of a landscape with the present natural beauty. We see references to a prehistoric settlement, to a stream that gave the town of Spiere its name, to findings from different periods… Many romanticised recollections adorn our walls as pictures or paintings, yet the combination of memory and present evokes so much more. This hybrid, transparent image is always moving, fluctuating between seasons, day and night, time and memory. Incoming impressions are organised by our consciousness into other mental pictures and concepts. How remote is the visible from the conceivable? Distance, meaning and perspective fuse with the remembrance of one's image. Registering the grid differently than the naked eye, a camera should make the combined image picture-perfect. The image differs from every position, on any given moment, presenting the onlooker with a unique view: an insight inspiring the most individual interpretation of a layered image. He now becomes the artist. 


The river Scheldt and the Spiere Canal border the town of Spierre-Helkijn (Espierres-Helchin), both streams marking the border with Wallonia. The canal was excavated in 1839 in the valley of the heavily meandering Zwarte Spierebeek, to connect the Scheldt with the Deûle in France. The canal is 8.4 kilometres long, 16 metres wide and 1.8 metres deep at most. The canal was mainly used for coal transport to France, yet the downfall of the coal industry signalled the waterway’s demise. In 1983, the last barge passed. The locks were blocked and shipping became impossible. Between 2008 and 2011, the canal was restored for tourists to navigate it once more. It is an idyllic setting with past and present flowing into each other. 


Belgian artist Patrick Ceyssens masters the art of making the subdermal function of images tangible. His body of work is intertwined with two connecting threads. On the one hand, Ceyssens broaches the memory theme and its deceptive enchantment. On the other hand, his work is never quite lost in melancholy and romance, as it will always present a disruption or breach, making the workings of the image no longer separable from memory function. The mind becomes our only canvas. Patrick Ceyssens exhibits internationally and teaches visual arts and image analysis at various institutions.