Johan De Wit (born 1960) lives and works in Ghent.
Shape and colour are the starting points for De Wit’s varied oeuvre that largely consists of sculptures, videos and picturesque objects. His works evoke all kinds of associations, such as childhood memories, but also those of vanity and melancholy. In evoking an atmosphere of poetic stillness, the artist combines his love for aesthetic objects with everyday life: ranging from a pot, a table or a ladder to abstract objects — sometimes even with religious or archaeological connotations – as in those conjured up by a disc or a triptych.
De Wit is inspired by the paintings of the Flemish Primitives and the Flemish and Dutch masters of the Golden Age, but there are also clear echoes of the work of Giorgio Morandi, for example. De Wit recognizes a kind of the restless openness in both the still lifes and the landscapes of the old masters, but also the refined craftsmanship he seeks in his own work. This is reflected in his search for materiality, textures and colour. Much like life itself, everything seems to be moving in De Wit’s work.
A paper mode forms the basis for his most recent series of objects, which are reinforced both on the inside and the outside by resin and marble powder. De Wit reworks the model during the drying process to create folds and dents. He subsequently finishes each piece with different colours and shades of paint, and then gives the surface of the work a final sanding. This results in a concealing and a retrieval of the dents and folds of the three-dimensional form. The light that is then captured and reflected underscores all the rich layers of the surface.