Gommaar Gilliams, 'What do you want?'

Zuid, Vlaamsekaai 74-75, 2000 Antwerp

Gallery Sofie Van de Velde proudly announces 'What do you want?', the third solo exhibition by Gommaar Gilliams in the gallery.

The exhibition shows a body of new work and presents Gommaar Gilliams' first artist book, published by Gallery Sofie Van de Velde.

'Gommaar Gilliams’ relationship to art history is highly personal. His work is bursting with duality, both in terms of its contents and its techniques. The great power of this lies in his knack for bringing contrasting elements together in a natural way. This is only possible through an understanding of both the light and the dark. With the painterly prowess of Georg Baselitz or Cy Twombly, he creates works in whose gentle magic are reminiscent of the paintings of Paul Klee and in whose naturalism and imagination call to mind the work of the symbolists.'


'And yet his work is not all peace and serenity. His work – ‘bittersweet’ by his own description – is not completely defanged. This is underscored in his work with reference, for example, to childhood, the time when a child is carefree, unaware of the dangers of the world. But although misfortune tends to lurk around every corner, things usually turn out alright in the end. By no means does the artist always seek out the negative; rather, he seeks to shield us from the saccharine and the woolly. In this way he ferries the viewer back and forth between dreamland and reality.'


'His compositions also give us ornate swans, the natural curves of divers and bathers, and the contours of battlements and coastlines. Indeed, beauty and balance are to be found fundamentally in the form itself. The frequent presence of the swan motif is no coincidence. Over the course of (art) history, this animal has symbolised many different things, including loyalty, strength and wisdom, as well as elegance and eroticism, the latter inevitably forming a link to the female form. Swan Lake, the classical ballet from 1877 for which Tchaikovsky composed the music, left a major impression on Gommaar Gilliams. As with Arcadia, he finds that the narrative of this ballet contains exactly the feeling that he seeks to express. Here, too, duality is strongly present: love and beauty end up being tragically consumed by deception and death.'

Text by Wim Lammertijm

Represented artist