In his work, Jesse Willems explores both the boundaries and the interfaces between figurative and abstract pictorial conception. Within his geometric corset, Jesse Willems impresses with a diversity of forms. The abstract pictorial compositions unfold in the two-dimensional, in a mystery of familiar sensuality and new timelessness. The interplay of pure geometry with old materials narrates the time-honored familiarity of a bygone era in a no-frills, matter-of-fact contemporary outfit. Jesse Willems combines the formal language of constructivism with intuitive richness and virtuosity. For instance, he repeatedly interlaces the austerity of the elements with breaks and shifts that then reveal something of the layer beneath. The collages of circular, rectangular, and triangular segments develop on Jesse Willems‘ picture surfaces into veritable fireworks of colorfully nuanced voyages of discovery.
Jesse Willems (°1984, Antwerp, Belgium) has an interest in exploring the boundaries between the figurative and abstract aspects of street life. When his great grandfather left him a collection of 800 old National Geographic magazines, he started scanning them, looking for tiny abstractions in photographs from the fifties. Thus creating contemporary collages, while working with 70 year old materials. In both his photography and collage work, he works in this same manner. Scanning the streets for small fragments of everyday life, often overlooked, enlarging them until their beauty can no longer be overlooked. This first resulted in the series ‘The future – and other jet age inventions’, a very first solo gallery show in April 2017.
This first show was a pivoting point toward an even more abstract view on everyday life. Inspired by the avant-gardist movement of the interbellum, and the stoïc philosophy of Epictetus, his work took a more personal approach, closer towards the needs felt in 21st century life. His work got smaller, leaving more space for silence. Ultimately leading to the series ‘Chresis ton phantasion’. The rational testing of different impressions, to see whether or not they deserve our assent. By eliminating all clutter, all that remains is the few fragments worth remembering.
Jesse’s work is in the collections of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the MAS Museum Antwerp, and has appeared in publications such as Billboard magazine (US), The New York Times (US), The Times (UK), De volkskrant (NL), …
His first book, Barak Friture was published in the fall of 2014, selling both in Europe as in the US, UK and Asia. The book was on display in stores such as Colette in Paris, and Tate Modern in London.
Current international exhibitions.
The zs art gallery program includes Austrian and international positions of postmodernism and contemporary art with a focus on painting – from informal to concrete – drawing, collage, sculpture and photography. We show positions that deal constructively with the environment and society.
In addition, we initiate and communicate interdisciplinary art concepts and combine controversial forms of expression into inspiring perspectives. This networking concept is mission, method and message at the same time. We want to be a place of leisure, of pausing. A place of caution, durability, sensuality, reduction, intensity, concentration and confrontation. A place for reflection and at the same time for confrontation.