Statement on “BRAVE new old WORLDS

Statement on “BRAVE new old WORLDS" : pictures of terror, a 21st. century reality

Gabriella Cleuren


In the year 1990 I was brutally confronted with human horror. The kind of humans I didn't know they still existed and were able to act like they did in the 21st. century, horrifying and unworthy. The secession of Yugoslavia and Chechnya showed scenes of deprivation, bewildered, inhuman, beyond speech and what evil humans were capable of : murder, anxiety and bestial treatment of other humans.

Was this humanity, was this the 21st. century ? Didn't we learn enough from the 19th. century's awful history and the wars of that time? My vision of humans was totally shaken, it fell down, changed irreversibly. Weren't humans able to climb to the state of cultivated manners ?

Instead of this : killing each other, chasing others away, the animal in humans : inside out, humans in there real shape, when circumstances allowed it : creeps, brutes, monsters, cruel beasts not capable to control the chaos in themselves. Unable of empathy, nevertheless a human quality. And always the same victims : defenseless women, children, the hungry, chased, kept on the run, beaten to death. Didn't this way of acting belong to the past ? No, it didn't !

It will always be present, appear when we are not cautious. It will always be there when circumstances join in. It is the evil part of everyone of us, it can raise every moment, every time again.

This is what my pictures are about: biblical sceneries of grief, pain, distress, cruelty, malicious pleasure at the misfortune of others, witnesses of the 21th. century destruction, a show of a long row, a film of maimed persons, desperate, excluded.

The human beings – a cruel absurdity. The parallels with Goya can not be denied : they are frightening!!! What have humans learned from the past, or do they always start at the bottom of civilization? What do they realize in there evolution or do they reach the confines very soon ? Does their animal state prevent them from being human ? Or can this only be realized in a scientific, technical way ?

How controllable is this problem or does it increase with the growing number of people in the world, many of whom are labeled as changeless from the very beginning of there existence. Uselessness as a future? For many of them disuse the next phenomenon.

My pictures witness our time, they are based on true pictures of our world society: photographs of journals, magazines, documentary films. Every day new ones add to the long row of evil. Will the end never be in sight ?

These pictures were painted in a destructive technique, translated in an emphatic way into the material. It can be felt by the viewer through the painfully rough touches and strips. That is their identity. The content is universal, a signal of warning for all those who are intelligent enough to understand!

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