Michiel  Ceulers


If we can define camp as a re-evaluation of a culture’s trash marked by excess, risk, blatant honesty and dustbin glamour than we are well on our way of illuminating some aspects of Michiel Ceulers (°1986) work.[ The Belgian born (b. 1986, Waregem), Ghent Academy (KASK) and Amsterdam Rijksakademie trained artist, indulges himself in the pleasure of freely exploring the myriad opportunities that reside in the traditions of painting and sometimes those of sculpture. Unburdened so it seems; and yet also precarious. Messy, with goo-like elements and even trashy sometimes. Definitely anti-aesthetic such as the painting entitled internationale Gemeinschaft für gegenseitige Hilfe (2017 – 2020) or the sculpture entitled ‘Bereits Katzen werden an die Spitze getrieben / Silvio Gessel in Front of the Money Dressed as a Dut...’ (2020). But there is also bright yellow. And there is glitter: the shimmer, the revel, even the frivolous and dirty decorative such as in the work The return of the dead mother with new problems (2020). (...)

Ceulers works with the history and contemporaneity of painting and art at large. It is not a burden one has to succumb to, like Kippenberger for that matter, who believed that the only option left for art was to talk about what was already there rather than invent new artistic idioms, styles and so on. Kippenberger – and according to him every artist – was stuck in a never-ending postmodern “Uber das Uber” state of existence. Ceulers however revels in references. It should not surprise us that he mentions Martin Kippenberger, Walter Swennen, Sigmar Polke, Dieter Roth. He admires the work of Roger Raveel. He appreciates Roth for pouring some “coke and sugar onto some drawings” or because he “lets his salami go rotten”. He likes the play with alchemy and the humour of Polke. He likes Dada, Rauschenberg, assemblage art, Michael Krebber, Albert Oehlen, Christopher Wool, Wade Guyton, Gerard Richter, Raoul De Keyser, Marcel Broodthaers’s word plays, Noam Rappaport and so on. No artistic position is monolithic and singular. There are only nuances, connections, tensions, overlaps, divergences, dialogues, travesties, comments, puns, relations… In Denkmall / no punn intended (2018) Ceulers takes on the refined aesthetic of Jan De Cock’s popular Denkmal sculptures. Just like De Cock’s work Ceulers made a sculpture that can be used by the audience. The sloppy look of Ceulers work however stands in sharp contrast with the sober aestheticism of De Cock’s work. Schlechte Ubersetzungen sind preiswerter (2009) reads the title of another work. Perfection, Ceulers seems to suggest, is a phantasma. His is a world of the flawed, damaged or discarded.



Born in 1986, Michiel Ceulers studied at the KASK Ghent and the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions include Comment Tuer l'Amant de Sa Femme Quand on a Été Élevé Comme Moi dans LaT radition? at De Garage in Mechelen in 2021.


Cartoon laws of physics


Michiel Ceulers Statement

Michiel Ceulers: Statements

Michel Ceulers, Patrick Van Rossem, Michaël Van Remoortere, Wouter Davidts

De Garage, Museum Hof van Busleyden & Stockmans Art Books, 2021

ISBN: 9789464363135

344 pages,  25,9 x 23,8 cm, paperback, Engels

Published following the exhibition of Belgian artist Michiel Ceulers (°1986) Comment Tuer l'Amant De Sa Femme at Museum Hof Van Busleyden & De Garage Mechelen. The title of the exhibition implies the artist's reflection on his practice in the long tradition of painting and does so by questioning that tradition and the artist's relationship to it, offering a survey of older and newer works. Like the character in Jacques Brel's song, from which the exhibition takes its title, the artist is trained in classical painting. At the same time, he wants to escape the pressures of the medium's rich history. Here, language plays an important role in his oeuvre. His often long titles do not provide conclusive explanations for the work, but are rather hints, playthings that reflect the logic of the artist himself.