Fabrice Samyn. I am?

Texts by Vinciane Despret, Pascal Rousseau & Wivine de Traux. Fonds Mercator, 224 pages, English, 2021, ISBN: 9780300250466. Also available in French. ​

The question of identity is at the heart of the multidisciplinary oeuvre of Belgian artist Fabrice Samyn. Through painting, sculpture, drawing, writing and choreography, he explores the multiple ways of being of living creatures, time and objects, probing the way they interact, mutually transforming and fashioning each other. This is the first monograph dedicated to Fabrice Samyn’s work. Through its rhizomatic organization – grounded on the analogical play with form, sign and meaning – the book gives a comprehensive view of an oeuvre that is at once conceptual and intimate, spiritual sensual. His is an oeuvre that does not shy away from the perilous engagement with the coincidence of contraries, without ever attempting to merge their differences. Generously illustrated, the book contains texts by Vinciane Despret (philosopher of science and professor at the Université de Liège), Wivine de Traux (author and art historian), and Pascal Rousseau (author and professor of art history at the Pantheon- Sorbonne University in Paris).

Exhibition catalogues – Solo shows

To See with Ellipse

Texts by Michel Draguet, Laurent Dubreuil, Donatien Grau. Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts / Musée Magritte, Brussels & Hatje Cantz, 128 pages, English, 2022, ISBN: 3775751440 

The diverse work of Belgian artist Fabrice Samyn (b. 1981) often references masterpieces of art historyHis compositions, installations, and performances explore grand metaphysical questions, combining conceptual rigor with spiritual sensuality. Against the backdrop of his art-historical referencesSamyn was invited by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels to enter into a subtle dialogue with the masterpieces of the Old Masters as well as the Musée Magritte. With his fascination for the spoken word and everyday poetrySamyn is in a tradition with fellow Belgian artist René Magritte, and he is equally successful in translating details from the paintings of the Old Masters into a contemporary visual language. 

All the Time We Are

Texts by Michael Krajewski and Raimund SteckerStiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg & Verlag Kettler, 80 pages, trilingual: English, Turkish and German, 2011, ISBN: 9783862061334. 

For Samyn’s exhibition in Duisburg, the focus is on painting and not without reason, since it determines a crucial part of his artistic practice. Consequently it is positioned between the Houben and Welker collections with Dutch and Italian paintings. His approach is, however, thoroughly  modern, reflective and calculated. The Belgian artist succinctly integrates the history of art into his paintings, sculptures and installations, subtly and enigmatically coaxing from it a fresh aesthetic force. With close inspection of his intricately painted canvasses, it becomes noticeable how certain details reference Old Master’s subject matter and motifs, modified and blurred by means of magnification.

Exhibition catalogues – Group shows

Are You Nobody Too?

Texts by Selen Ansen, Cana Bostan, Fatih ÖzgüvenVehbi Koç Foundation, 319 pages, English, 2022, ISBN: 9786059606349. Also available in Turkish.

The publication I Am Nobody. Are You Nobody Too? was conceived as an extension of the exhibition. This book elaborates on the exhibition’s pivotal themes, such as reflection, resonance, and self/other, by bridging the past and the present and bringing the mythological background of the exhibition into focus. Edited by the exhibition’s curator Selen Ansen and Meşher’s curators Ebru Esra Satıcı and Şeyda Çetin, it brings together numerous visual and textual sources, including some which have been translated into English for the first time, as well as two commissioned essays, one by Cana Bostan and one by Fatih Özgüven.

The Bees of the Invisible

Texts by Denis Gielen. MACS / Musée des Arts Contemporains au Grand Hornu, 60 pages, Bilingual: French/English, 2019, ISBN: 9782930368764. 

Inspired by the similarities between Thierry De Cordier’s sculpture, Chambre des pensées (cinéma), 1989-1997 (revised in 2019) and the metaphor of the “golden hive” woven by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke in relation to his Elegies, the exhibition brings together works by some ten contemporary artists on the theme of interiority. As private as a chamber or as collective as a hive, this “inside” of humans and objects, withdrawn from the visible world, takes various forms in response to several metaphysical systems: cosmology, alchemy, animism, doctrine or, in a more modern expression, the experience of the sublime. Starting from this symbolic thought which escapes logic, these artists thus extract an entire imaginary world of the invisible in which the memory of the universe is accumulated, like a treasure. Reconnecting with “spirituality in art”, their works diverge from rationalist vision in favour of intuition, this perception defined by the philosopher Henri Bergson as “the sympathy by which one is transported into the interior of an object in order to coincide with what there is unique and consequently inexpressible in it.” Foreword by Denis Gielen, curator of the exhibition.

Là où commence le jour

Catalogue virtuel. 

L’exposition Là où commence le jour, présentée au LaM du 2 octobre 2015 au 10 janvier 2016 dans le cadre de lille3000 – Renaissance, prend la forme d’un parcours poétique ayant pour thème l’émancipation de l’individu par la (re)connaissance du monde qui l’entoure. À l’instar de L’Odyssée d’Homère ou de La Divine Comédie de Dante – mais aussi des jeux de rôles contemporains –, ce récit visuel inédit invite le visiteur à accomplir un voyage sensible et mystérieux où lui sont révélées, d’œuvre en œuvre, la perception et la conscience que l’être humain a des savoirs, des symboles, de la nature, du corps, de la création, de l’espace et du temps.

When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes

Texts by Jens Hoffmann, Constance Lewallen, Julian Myers-Szupinska, Christiane Rattemeyer, Jana Blankenship, Michele Fiedler, Claire Fitzsimmons, Liz Glass, Katie Hood Morgan, Rita Sobreiro Souther. CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, English, 2012, ISBN: 9780984960927.

When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes takes as its starting point the 1969 exhibition Live In Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form (Works – Concepts – Processes – Situations – Information) presented at the Kunsthalle Bern in Switzerland and curated by Harald Szeemann. When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes includes over 80 international contemporary artists across both the exhibition and catalogue that work within the lineage and language of Conceptual art practices.


Texts by Nancy Casielles, Raphaël Debruyn. BPS22 Musée d’Art de la Province de Hainaut, 226 pages, trilingual: French/Dutch/English, 2014, ISBN: Vehbi Koç Foundation, 319 pages, English, 2022, ISBN: 9782960127232. 

In the same logic as the collective exhibition, the catalogue is a veritable multi-entry directory. It offers new reading tracks of the BPS22 project inside a unique world heritage location: the Hôpital Notre-Dame à la Rose.