Who said again: "With logic one gets from A to B, with imagination one gets everywhere"?
The work of Stijn Bastianen indeed brings us from A to B, but then through the entire alphabet. And one gets the imagination on top. A property of "logic" is that it leads us to the corners of our comprehension. And that has everything to do with bridging contradictions. Because is it not logical that we try to reconcile apparent contradictions?
Stijn Bastianen is a painter and graphic artist. As a result, he feels more attracted to smaller formats: from sketchbook to medium-sized canvas. He draws smoothly and sharply, with recognizable writing. His sketchbooks are intended as "preliminary studies", or sources of inspiration. But they have also become graphic gems; maybe unwanted. Paintings with a strongly layered texture then grow from these drawn versions. Because the direct character of the paint contrasts with the well-processed processing of the paint. Stijn Bastianen likes to paint over: the pictorial richness underpins the complexity of "the story".
"The story" is difficult to fathom rationally. It often arises from a chance or unknowingly bringing together images and signs. "The world is a theater": At Stijn Bastianen, the set pieces slide over each other until the content reluctantly reveals itself. This content can vary from humor to sarcasm, from irony to poetry, with a hint of social criticism on top.
How do we rhyme things together? Of course there is a cartoon approach. Besides, concepts such as "deformation" and "expression" remain closely linked, and the step from "sur-naturalism" to "sur-realism" was quickly made at the time. Stijn Bastianen understands like no other the dilemma between spontaneity and control. In this process, individual images are clearly identified and technically skilled. The end result is therefore a fascinating, interpretable world, which we must experience with astonishment. Because don't we seem to be wandering around in a contemporary "Praise of Foolishness"?
09/2018) Marc Bourgeois