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Galerie P. : Ensorcelored, 11 photographers in dialogue with James Ensor


In 2024, Ostend celebrates the 75th anniversary of the passing of the unique painter James Ensor, a Belgian artist from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was an eternal outsider: a school dropout, a mama’s boy, a rebel, a world improver, a big ego, a misunderstood prophet, an advocate for the environment and animals. His oeuvre consists of a diverse and intriguing assortment of paintings, drawings, and prints characterized by a unique mix of symbolism, expressionism, and satire, often with grotesque and macabre elements. Ensor is especially known for his masks and carnivalesque figures that create a dark and mysterious atmosphere. His use of color is often intense and his compositions are bold and experimental. Through his original style and themes, Ensor has had a lasting influence on modern art.

What is lesser known is that Ensor was also fascinated by photography and film. He frequently used photos as the basis for his paintings and in his later years, he played a prominent role in the development of the Ostend film club of Henri Storck.

As part of the Ensor year, Galerie P. organizes the exhibition ENSORCELORED until May 12, featuring eleven photographers whose works shed a different light on Ensor’s favorite themes such as the sea, still life, death, Christ, nudity, drunkards, masks, the temptation of Saint Anthony, and the seven deadly sins. By seeing the corresponding work of Ensor alongside the selected photos, you discover how classical themes are subtly interwoven throughout Western art history and continue to influence the work of contemporary artists today, whether consciously or not.

Young promising photographers such as Alizée Bauer or Harry Fayt confront in this setting established names such as Lucien Clergue, Joel-Peter Witkin, and Robert Mapplethorpe. In short, an exhibition like a polished diamond, with many facets that sparkle and inspire.

Discover the intimate interiors by Alizée Bauer, the nudes on the beach by Lucien Clergue, a danse macabre by Harry Fayt, a Dadaist costume by Frédéric Fontenoy, portraits of strong women by Anne Kuhn, orchids by Robert Mapplethorpe, surrealist nudes by Marcel Mariën, sea views by Karel Mus, a staged scene on Ensor’s secrets by Bart Ramakers, a drunken self-portrait by Henriëtte Van Gasteren, and an ode to the macabre in a selection of works by Joel-Peter Witkin in this fascinating co-production with galerie baudoin lebon (Paris).

The exhibition ENSORCELORED runs until May 5 and from May 10 to 12, 2024, from 2pm to 6pm.

Galerie P.
Kursaal-Oosthelling 10
8400 Ostende

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