Real Life

Ilse D'Hollander


Softcover, 210 x 130 mm portrait, 96 pages, English

We know very little about Ilse D’Hollander: the facts of her reality remain largely unknown. She was born in 1968 in Sint-Niklaas, a small city between Ghent and Antwerp. She studied painting, graduating in 1991 and then moving from Ghent to Paulatem in the Zwalm countryside of the Flemish Ardennes. This is where she spent the last, highly productive years of her life, and where her life ended. At the age of 29, D’Hollander took her own life, crossing from this earthly reality into an eternal one.

Real Life brings together a group of eight artists of different generations and from different geographies who, like D’Hollander, use paint to engage with reality in its most porous and capacious sense. Pigment or picture, paint or illusion, poetic or mimetic, the artworks in this exhibition freely oscillate between representation and abstraction; the literal and the spiritual or transcendental. Alongside visionaries Jesse Murry and Frank Walter, who passed away in 1993 and 2009 respectively, Real Life shows the paintings (and some writing) of the very much alive artists Lois Dodd, Christopher Colm Morrin, Heidrun Rathgeb, Trevor Shimizu, and Peter Shear to connect D’Hollander to her international peers and a younger generation of artists through whose work we might embrace the unknown and discover Ilse.