Text by Christine Kintisch

Belgian artist Michaël Borremans (born 1963) is among the most brilliant painters of emotion of the past half-century. An heir to the sober, enigmatic character studies of Manet and Velazquez and the thick indoor atmospheres of Vermeer, Borremans has greatly advanced this tradition, in part through his incorporation of cinematic allusion and of that uniquely Belgian take on Surrealism that is at once deeply phlegmatic and bizarrely comical. Any divisions between realism and flights of fantasy are mysteriously abolished by Borremans, however, leaving the viewer to confront his intense, almost claustrophobic painterly world. Published for an exhibition at BAWAG Contemporary in Vienna, Magnetics presents a concise selection of a dozen canvases made over the past five years, examined in dialogue with the artist’s drawings and films.