Isa De Leener

Isa De Leener’s (1993, MFA St.-Lucas Ghent) paintings exhibit a wonderful and poetic strangeness that further frustrates ready classification. His paintings often (literally) extend beyond the borders of the canvas and operate as three-dimensional objects. Z.T. (Duif), the frontispiece of this exhibition text, refers to ancient paintings of the annunciation whereby the Holy Spirit is shown in the form of a dove, coming down towards Mary on beams of light. Whereas the Holy Spirit is typically represented as a peaceful white dove, Isa De Leener depicts an ordinary pigeon, a feral and street bird. The rays of light are on their turn replaced by bird spikes that are typically used to deter pigeons. Deterrence becomes protection and the sacred becomes the profane. Other works have a political and heraldic dimension. Z.T. (Leeuw) is a painterly representation of the official flag of the Flemish Community. Painted in swift brush strokes, an idealized symbol that is used to represent a nation, political ideology or population is reduced to its banal essence: an exotic animal that only lives in sub-Saharan Africa and that has basically nothing to do with Flanders.