Denyse Willem (B 1943)
Denyse Willem’s work is a feminist provocation where imaginary worlds are dominated by powerful woman. In this imaginary world male gender roles are inverted or grotesquely substituted by animals. A world reminiscent of the northern renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch. Willem embraces his mannerism style where sarcastic imagination dominates the rational by means of outraged anatomy and distorted obscure meanings.
Alice in the Land of Man, 1978, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 60 cm. Mineta Collection Ref. MC 468 -Exhibited Mamac Liège, Denyse Willem, retrospective, 2004, Catalogue p.17.
In the world of men, woman has to disguise themselves. Party masks, death masks. Reflections are as deceptive as the dormant water where the mute angels and demons hide. (Irène Stecyk, Denyse Willem, introduction).
Death of a symbol, 1982, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 160 cm. Mineta Collection ref MC 363 – Exhibited Mamac Liège , Denyse Willem, retrospective, 2004, Catalogue p. 43.
Between 1978 and 1982 Denyse Willem realised some of her most intriguing paintings. Rituals are a strong cohesive factor for human identity and are often performed around symbolic objects.
The sarcastic gathering around a cauliflower on a highway parking will make an end at the myth that hides maternity from children.
The fruit from the flower will regain its true nature inside our female bodies.