The Sublime Stephane

With art fairs Art On Paper, Fotofever and art festival Nuit Blanche ahead, another art-packed weekend awaits Brussels! But what to see? The I Love Belgium team recommends Stéphane Mandelbaum's retrospective. The work of Stéphane, murdered at the age of 25, is an exceptional display of a natural tormented talent! In his frenzied search for an identity, Stéphane obsessively and repetitively committed to paper anything which came into his head.

In a short lifespan of just nearly 25 years, Stéphane created hundreds of drawings and paintings: works which experts rightly regard as belonging to the most exceptional of 21st Century Belgian art. He was said to be dyslexic and drawing was his language. With charcoal, pencils but also a ball-point pen, Stéphane presents a violent universe where death and sex prevail. His work is provocative and desperate. Through its superior execution, it bears witness to an exceptionally rich human dimension. There are many self-portraits and many portraits of well-known individuals (to name a few: Bacon, Goebbels, Pasolini, Nasser, Rimbaud...).

His drawings and his engravings have remained narrations that are intense, living and tragic. Defining himself as 'the young drunken drifter, obsessed with death', he has engraved, painted and drawn a terrifying mirror. The works presented at Art on Paper come from private collections and have only too rarely been exhibited. It is thus an exceptional opportunity to discover the work of an artist who is far too little known by the general public.

You wonder why such a young talent was murdered? In search of his own identity Stéphane ended up in the darkness of the underworld. Surrounded by criminals and prostitutes, Stéphane stole artworks and played with weapons.  After a Modigliani theft, his companions quarrelled on the profit split... resulting into murder.

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