Mathieu Bassez has exhibited at reknowned art galleries and museums worldwide including:
Halcyon Gallery Harrods London
MEAM Museum, Museo Europeo de Arte Moderno Barcelona
Cuadro Museum & Fine Art Gallery Dubai
Gallery Revel SOHO New York
Museum van Gameren Antwerp
Imperial Palace Hofburg Vienna
Art Gallery Tempera Place Royale Brussels
Osaka International House Osaka
Everyone has a passion. If, like artist Mathieu Bassez, you have an obsession for the unusual, it too might have taken you to Japan, earned you a Masters in Eastern Philology (Japanese cultural history and literature), and made you one of the youngest singers of Bach arias, travelling at the age of 11 with a world famous orchestra. An eternal student, thirsty for life and knowledge, he believes “that a true artist has to learn and observe, delve into all the big questions in life.”
Bassez grew up in Ghent, Flanders, home to the Flemish primitives as well as Van Eyck, Rubens and Breughel. He started painting in his early teens but it was at university, after writing a thesis on Utamaro, the 19th century Japanese painter of daily life scenery (the floating world) that his interest in art intensified. This culminated in his studying painting at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts, where he was the only foreigner in his class. “My stay in Japan taught me a lot about true human emotions, which are expressed in a totally different way to Western society, but are nevertheless of the same intensity.” he says. Using a daring mix of Zen and Baroque he creates an extremely fragile balance of Asian purification and European Renaissance.
And then there is red, the all-pervading colour in his work paired with deep black and shared with a monochrome palette of brownish shades. “Red is wide ranging, going from love and life, to violence and death,” he says, mentioning his red was used by Vittore Carpaccio, the Renaissance painter of the Venetian school.
With a return to his roots, Bassez works on finely woven, handmade linen sourced from a centuries-old Flemish company. Painted in one fine layer of oil, the end result has the smoothness of an Old Master. Each painting has remarkable detail, inviting the onlooker to reach out, touch the canvas and step into it. Beyond the Old Master techniques, his contemporary subjects provide a visual impact that can be likened to a gunshot in the middle of a classical concert.
In 2009 the artist started a monumental painting, five metres wide. It depicts the contrast between the powerful dynamics of the horse and the fragility of the female form. However within this physical conflict can be seen the mental domination exercised by the woman. Since horse’s history is so powerfully linked to our own, this amazing painting is the first of a series of majestic equine paintings.