I Paint What I Want To See: Exhibition with Erik Chiafele, Michiel Ceulers, Louise Delanghe, Jonathan DeDecker and Sung Hwa Kim

14 January - 19 February 2023
Installation Views
Press release

Titled after a book by Philip Guston, the new exhibition at Everyday Gallery ‘I Paint What I Want to See’ presents the work of five painters, from Belgium and the US. The exhibition showcase works by Erik Chiafele, Michiel Ceulers, Louise Delanghe, Jonathan DeDecker and Sung Hwa Kim.


The seven elements of painting, the internet says, are color, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value. It may be two-or three-dimensional, descriptive, implied, or abstract. What binds the painters in this show, is a sense of historical reference. Between two titles of works by presented artists; ‘Kneel 4 Your Heroes’ and ‘Moonlight night, sometimes I wonder if you’re looking at me like I’m looking at you’— you get a sense.


Jonathan DeDecker speaks of discontinuity in painting; or how one thing becomes another, as letters and shapes bend and bulk like figures. One may have seen Louise Delanghe walk around with a long painted stick, a painter’s performance; or recognize the way her color palette is marked by deep shiny blacks and bright primary colors while trailing the history of folklore and of her medium. Erik Chiafele holds marking life moments in evaporative depictions, often in scenes made almost monochrome, as if a colored bulb set the tone for something that calls to be remembered. Michiel Ceulers’ works push the canvas to a literal target, thinking of motives and the way images are (de)constructed; like cartoons, animated by the viewer. Lastly, Sung Hwa Kim invites us to stare into the depth of night; fallen petals and moonscapes recall a moment of dusk and softly blurred understanding.


The American artists seem to reference artists from the European continent, and the other way around. Naming the heroes of each of the artists here may be redundant, and setting the viewer to look for the reference, as if decoding, rather than seeing the works in themselves. Looking at painting is an art of looking at, looking through, looking beyond, looking into. An endless tumbling on the surface into a depth of history, in a deceptively flat plane. 


In ‘Night Philosophy’ author Fanny Howe writes, “The look of the daily world is governed only by which point you happened to be focussed on at a particular point in time.” Earlier in the same book, this phrase seems to add nicely to thoughts on influences and painterly/viewing practices: “Enchantment produces a Secondary World into which both creator and spectator can enter together, trusting in the uncanny nature of the experience while they are inside it.” Howe specifies that enchantment has its own logic and symbols, yet these refer to experiences we have early on in our lives; people disappearing outdoors, returning, leaves falling, the wind blowing…


‘I Paint What I Want to See’ is an ode to stains, strokes and varnish, and everything that brought it to what it looks like. 


Text by Céline Mathieu