Untitled (from the Cicatrice Series)

198 x 144 cm

Mixed Media on Canvas


Fred Bervoets (1942)

Fred Bervoets was born during WWII and grew up in the smoke of the factories in the port of Zwijndrecht and in the shadow of the church of Burcht. He studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts.

The oeuvre of Bervoets does not show homogeneity or continuity in the strict sense of the word. His themes and style undergo many changes throughout the years and are thus often categorized in "series". The period from 1964 to 1970 was characterized by influences of the CoBrA movement, although the works were already closely relating to the life and ideas of Bervoets.

From 1970, snakes and intestinal figures often appear in his monumental paintings, coining the name Spaghetti Canvases – busy tales in a psychedelic world. From 1972-1974 he abandons this detail intensive process and creates Totems and Cabinets. In addition, he increasingly uses assembly techniques, whereby he cuts and combines etchings, sticking them on fabrics, or fastening them with nails and ropes. During this period, Bervoets mostly made use of gray, blue and green with aggressive red intrusions, giving birth to what is now referred to as the Grays series.

In his following period, anger and sadness come to reflect the loss of his painter-brother Jan Cox in 1980 and the drama of Wounded Knee in 1973. In 1982, Bervoets exhibits at the KMSKA in Antwerp and a year later receives the Lobende Anerkennung from the jury of the European Graphical Art in Baden-Baden, after his participation in the 17th Biennal of São Paulo.

From 1987 his works are characterized by mutilated self-portraits and scars which were often made in the darkness of the night with acrylic paint on unprepared canvases. That same year is also marked by the Nevada series, made of impressions - mostly on brown wrapping paper or camouflage cloth - of his trip to the Mojave Desert and his visit of his friend Albert Szukalski (1945-2000).

In 1991, he receives the State Award for Fine Art and in 1994 exhibits his work besides that of Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) under the title A Museum in the making at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in Scottsdale (USA).