Lives and works in Wuustwezel (Antwerp), Belgium
-Graduated from Sint-Lucas university college Antwerp.
‘Master in Art, Graphic Design’ 1991 – 1995
In a sharply delineated way the paintings of Frank Kenis focus on crossing borders. Just as a character meets itself, locked in the frame of the take, our lives too are hemmed in by walls, rules, appearances, formalities, education, nationalities, power structures and country borders. The oppressiveness of boundaries is certainly very present in Kenis’ oeuvre; still his imaging takes a decisive step forward. Simultaneously this idiom strengthens our intuition concerning human ways of being in the world. An awareness we can live through in moments of positive silence. When all is silent, nothing is lacking, though people can be very much terrified by silence, because it entails a confrontation with oneself.
This way the paintings of Frank Kenis disclose things allowing us to hide within ourselves. He doesn’t paint the things an sich, but the outcomes they trigger. Objects are immersed in particular surroundings, whose proper feel they do not in any obvious way uncover, but are helpful to suggest a deeper meaning. In the physical act of applying paint a spiritual return to what really matters is taking place. That is how a corner of the veil shrouding everyday reality is raised. The world shown us through the artist’s eyes is characterized by absences, brittleness, by things fading away, suggesting vulnerability and concealment. Staging a wide array of forms and subject matters, it is this creative outlook that continues to enliven his work, whether it is a pillow laying forlorn on some bedding, or a shirt hanging on a stand, whether we glimpse the reflexion of a rowboat , or a woman applying make-up or a windowless house. Shattered debris snatched from a seemingly solid live story and refashioned into oil on canvas, suddenly turn out to be prototypes of our Dasein. This quest for a substance behind the facade makes us cross the threshold of an ominous or is it a mystical space.
Joannes Késenne, PhD, Lecturer in art theory PXL-MAD