Yann Bronder: Tu m’as reproché en fait ce que tu faisais avec moi sans que je ne le sache. Top.

On the occasion of Brussels Gallery Weekend and the 50th anniversary of Baronian, the oldest gallery in Brussels, we interviewed artist Yann Bronder. Born in 1990 in Belgium, she studied at KASK in Ghent and holds a master’s degree in Fine Arts from LUCA in Brussels. Bronder does not work in series, she works in time slots and works on several works simultaneously. Each work is an occasion for something new, for something unprecedented. As a result, Bronder’s works are not limited to one theme or one context.
by Lara Morrell
September 9, 2023
Lara Morrell
Yann Bronder

Tell me a little about your approach to the practice of painting, and the notion of free association in your approach? What are the ideal conditions for starting a new painting?

I refuse to make work like it’s a school exercise, where there’s a pre-established concept, which then determines a series of works, of which the boundaries are set. And then this concept becomes the thing I’m exhibiting in a gallery, clearly delineated, with an accompanying explanatory text. That’s what I don’t want. I want to make images in which each one induces the next one. Like a cut-up. When you move your head and your field of vision changes, or when you pass through a door, a completely new situation arises, new images confront you. You’re in a web of indefinite, interrupted situations. This abruptness is what I want to paint.

That’s why I’m not so interested in ideal conditions. What are they supposed to be anyway? If I was interested in ideal conditions, I wouldn’t be a painter. Under ideal conditions I would be 180 centimetres tall and I wouldn’t be a painter in the first place, I’d be doing something completely different. For my work I need vital spaces, I need spaces where there’s friction, where there’s transgression, where there’s conflict. That’s where you discover things, that’s where I find my images. 

What will you be presenting at the exhibition ‘Tu m’as reproché en fait ce que tu faisais avec moi sans que je ne le sache. Top.’? 

William Burroughs uses cut-up techniques in his writing, collecting texts and scraps, to show that this is how our own lives work as well. I’m trying to do something similar, with images, with ideas that crop up in me, in my daily life, which I try to capture immediately. That’s what painting is for me, a medium to catch these images instantaneously. Film requires too much preparation and logistics, and photography creates this false immediacy, for me that’s a false representation. It’s just a moment, a flash, with misleading accuracy. Painting constitutes an inverse movement, in which internal ideas and images are projected outwards.

Quite a surreal text accompanies the exhibition, written by Jef Woestenborghs – how does this relate to you and your practice?

I think I’m interested in myths, and myths around personas. There used to be so many strange myths about artists, like Alfred Jarry, who rode around paris on a bike carrying his rifle, or Vladimir Horowitz who supposedly had an affair with Rachmaninov, which he always refused to either confirm or deny. I find it funny how we can sometimes create or control these personal myths ourselves, and this text is an attempt to do that. Jeff wrote this text before the images actually, before I started the series. But another important connection is that Jef and I lost a very important friend a couple of months ago, Rint Dens. Rint was a master at generating myths about himself, and his memory is becoming increasingly mythical as well, which is beautiful but also very difficult. I think that subconsciously played a role, in this attempt to generate our own myths ourselves. And there’s the surrealist aspect of course, of closing your eyes and disappearing into surreal dreams, my work is obviously inspired by that.

Every month you host an evening of art/music at your ‘house’ – can you tell us more and can we come?

Yes, they’re in my studio, the former Dvir gallery in Anderlecht which I rent with Jef Lambrechts and Ferre Marnef, @f.m_sergeant (musician), They’re organised by In Vitro project space, a project of Jef Lambrechts,You can find them on instagram, @ivprojectspace. The next event is on the 30th of September.

Could you talk our readers through your ideal day in Brussels?

I’m not sure whether I want to answer this question. Why would we want to start copying each other’s lifestyles? Brussels is a city you need to discover for yourself. But if you definitely want a recommendation it would be the toilet of Chez Maria at Place de la Vaillance. 

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