Thierry De Cordier is a philosopher, visual artist, writer and poet. As a young artist, he lived a nomadic existence that led him to reflect upon architecture as a model for social relations. For a long time, his garden was a substitute and a metaphor for the world. Later, he turned his back to the world to look at the sea.
De Cordier is an existential artist who tries to understand the world through his own experience. His work is the result of a personal quest: a search for his own identity, his relationship to the world, and his role within society. His work, in which the infinitely small is reflected in the infinitely big, develops organically from his inner psyche.
His desolate landscapes, seascapes and mountains are amongst his recent themes, partly inspired by the vast, black and white topographies of 17th and 18th century Chinese painting, they also capture the essential qualities of the landscape and light of Northern Europe. The grey skies and ink black seas in his paintings evoke melancholy, with the most dramatic scenes being those in which waves and mountainous cliffs fuse together to embody the forces of nature within a single primal image.
The subject of God and the definition or non-definition of God is at the core of a different group of works. Ranging from vast fields of paper where blue ink assembles into a cascade of text, to singular definitions, De Cordier's calligraphic works communicate the artist's illogical definitions of God. Oscillating between the absurd and the sacred, the words become the spiritual medium of an image that strives to materialise the invisible.
Thierry De Cordier (b. 1954, Oudenaarde, Belgium) currently lives and works between Ostend, Belgium and the Alpujarras, Spain. A large room dedicated to his work was on view in the exhibition The Encyclopedic Palace curated by Massimiliano Gioni at the Venice Biennale in 2013. Solo exhibitions include Iconotextures at Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels (2016); Landschappen at BOZAR, Brussels (2012) and Drawings at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2004-2005). He was responsible for the Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1997. His monumental public work De Kapel van het Niets, in the garden of the Sint-Norbertus psychiatric hospital in Duffel, Belgium, was inaugurated in 2007.
text by Thierry De Cordier, published by MER. Paper Kunsthalle, 2017, 288 pages, French
text by Michel Draguet, published by Royal Museum for Fine Arts of Belgium, 2016, 32 pages, English, French and Dutch
text by Thierry De Cordier, published by Salon Verlag, 2015, 170 pages, French
text by Bernard Dewulf, published by Ludion, 2002, 268 pages, French
edited by Jonas Storsve, published by Centre Pompidou, 2004, 96 pages, English and French
1 July 2017—3 January 2021
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
20 March—7 June 2020
Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland