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History: fire paint.
"I've done this too." "My grandfather did this already."
In response to such statements in my shows - also I personally know some artists - I want to say that I have not invented this technique. Invented does not exist in this way. When I started with this technique in 1976, I only had the intention to discover and to develop this technique. I discovered this technique quite by accident. Sometimes I ask myself if all this is not born out of frustration because I founded fire unintentionally at home as a five years old boy. I have given a name too this medium also to introduce this method in art. I did not knew from the first choice of the name that it - although with a different meaning - was already in the dictionary. I baptized this technique; "Fumagine", arise from the contraction from the French word fumer and the English word imagine (I thought of course also to John Lennon).
Retrospect It turned out in a great choice. Because fumagine is a plant disease with soot deposition on the leaves. You cannot choose a better title. As applicable to our sick world it is; simply; with no doubt; as relevant. But philosophers have been saying for a long time that we should worry about the world.
Through all these stories I still can write a brief history of the fumagine.
In ancient times by the discovery of fire this technique must have been used, of course, to deal with indications. Maybe even to color drawings like they did with all colors who were located in the ground. Probably there only was a possibility in modern times to keep the precipitation of smoke and soot.
I know with certainty that after the second world war - because dinner plates previously a luxury - some people painted with a flame in front and on the back of a plate. Afterwards this soot was processed into beautiful drawings with sticks, knives, feathers, fingers and lots of other items. Those plates were even suspended in pleated wire on the wall. Later they tried here and there even to varnish these drawings. What was not evident.
So I also know teachers in the mid 60 who let children work in soot on glass and plates. It gave breathtaking results.
I also remember the jokes with soot - I may call them plates flambé ? The principal of the joke was to made the back of the plate black with soot (which of course may not be viewed by the victim). The stage-manager take place opposite to the injured area with a clean plate. The other plate was equally hold in the victim's hands. With the pretext that he was going to make some drawings on his face, the duped person had to rub on the board and then he had to draw with a finger on his face ...in the way like the stage-manager did.
What a face ... he was subsequently presented with a mirror.
In the sixties it was time to the big artists of the ZERO movement to create with fire. Burning cloths, burning books, finding space, all as a negative processing with fire.
My four biggest artists born in the same time in which Yves Klein born 1928 - who died too young -, Bernard Aubertin (1927), Henk Peeters (born 1925) and my favorit artist Otto Piene (born 1928) - were the example for my experiments in the seventies.
Playing, experimenting with fire indeed led to the discovery of a very figurative work of a horse and a cat with the title "unintentionally abstract." This work has as so far not compromising on color and power. Since then, my mind was made up: something accidental has obtained must be possible to create by my own will. I could possibly add to the zero a figurative and positive mood.
Then my search is started. I did not know I was unique in progress. In the creation and expansion of the Internet, I understood that I took an unexplored path.
I added a square to make my work interactive. The visitor can engage himself and applying this square to any other place. Later this was viewed as my trademark, my signature, my gift of color ... a color who took other forms in the evolution and explained my technique more and more without no explain to all my technique.
Upon further exploration of the Internet I discovered in the year 2011 a French artist Etienne Gros (worth watching) that this technique was applied in drawing in his own cut female figures. (Many cinematic cut-offs are dedicated to a great Belgian artist Luc Tuymans). I discovered afterwards that some artists here and there and occasionally applied these "fumagine" technique.
This gives wings, because it's nice that other artists discover this media and worked with. It hurts when people claim they invented this technique even when it is ignorant. Ethic asks some….
Maybe I should put this text on Wikipedia.( Wiki deserves more honor than it gets.) Cordially. frans Frengen. (Other languages coming .... D, E, F, I, ESP).
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