Etienne Courtois at The Wunderwall: Antwerp
Porosity is probably the concept that best characterises Etienne Courtois’ approach to his photographic work. One of the threads in his creative process is his distinctly plastic treatment of the medium through integrated and often barely noticeable interventions that are both sculptural and pictorial by nature. This becomes evident in both the material support of the work as well as in the compositions themselves. The works often originate from the confrontation between various random objects gathered by Courtois during his walks and rambles through the city or in nature, leading to surprising encounters.Their contemporary surrealistic quality is accentuated by the pictorial transformations he applies. Like creating sculptural forms - often in plaster, but also in wood - that are integrated into the images, applying paint, adhesive or shapes in relief on the prints themselves, using multiple exposures to modify chromatic values and shapes in the initial image, creating the effect of a shift or spectral motion, all contributing to the dubiety emanating from the works. The work of Etienne Courtois clearly surpasses the dichotomy between figurative and representational art. The ambiguity in interpreting and understanding these interventions leads to completely new and surprising formal encounters between everyday objects in a whimsical, alienating
atmosphere. Courtois’ work is marked by a distinctly free, singular and often witty approach that evokes the pictorial work of Walter Swennen or the sculptures of Koenraad Dedobbeleer.