Walter Swennen
The Crimson Tongue (2016)

A film by Violaine de Villers

Also on view
David Altmejd, Chaorismatic (2012)
Richard Artschwager, Shut up and Look (2012)
John Chamberlain, HEAARTBEAT (2012)
Thierry De Cordier, C’est moy que je peins (1996)
Tracey Emin, Where Do You Draw the Line? (2018)
Antony Gormley, Being Human (2015)
Robert Mapplethorpe, Black White + Gray
A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe
(2007)

Malcolm Morley, The Outsider (1989)
Alice Neel, Alice Neel (2007)

Belgian artist Walter Swennen invites us into his workshop for a thoughtful but playful dialogue between the movements of his mind and the matter of his works, between a way of being and a way of painting. Born just post-war, Swennen has been producing a polymorphous and inventive body of work since the 80s, characterised by its independence and its radical experimentation.

When words fail and meanings get muddled, painting steps up, making light of the arbitrariness of images and words. Swennen moves from Brussels to New York, and helped by the film’s director and a team of curators of contemporary art, he speaks to his paintings, and they speak back. We are drawn into this painter-philosopher’s world, in which Buster Keaton bumps into Titian, Krazy Cat rides a Dadaesque hobbyhorse, Mickey Mouse puts ears on Mallarmé, and Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band jams with Thelonious Monk. Swennen is a master of not taking himself too seriously, while talking seriously about his art. With impish precision, this film prods and probes a great Belgian oddball artist.

The Crimson Tongue (2016)
1h 9min, French, English subtitles

Directed by Violaine de Villers
Cinemtography by Johan Legraie, Jean-Pierre Fargeas, Violaine de Villers
Sound by Cosmas Antoniadis, Matthieu Roche, Benoît Bruwier
Edited by Lou Galopa
Music by Graham K. Riach
Produced by Marie Kervyn, YC ALIGATOR FILM

A co-production of RTBF (Belgian television), CBA - Centre de l'Audiovisuel à Bruxelles with the help of the Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale