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Niels Donckers 



The objects in Donckers’ pictures show themselves as traces, abandoned in mid-action, of urban and spatial struggle. Perhaps Belgians, and more specifically the Flemish, look at a cadastral plan as a necessary evil to stop private property from colonising the whole country, which in itself is difficult because it is not clear what ‘country’ means. They do know what ‘private’ means, however, and this shows in variations ranging from discrete marks to unashamedly questionable taste and private monumentality.

In the past, the regulating state authority was largely mute, and when its voice was expressed what came out was deaf howling, usually contributing to fragmentation, estrangement and a sense that the objects in the street have been placed with no regard for one another. How remarkable the difference with our northern neighbours, for example, who embrace common state regulations and direct verbal debate, where regulations are regarded as values for all, affecting what you can and cannot do in your own private house. Conversely, the Flemish allow private and local endeavours into the public or national sphere, which they often regard as a failure.

David Claerbout in: “The Camera that sits, arms crossed”, in: Niels Donckers, Sected Works 1992-2017, pg 11, De Garage 2017


In the early 1990s, Jacqueline Peeters started making invitation cards and posters for fictitious exhibitions of unsold paintings in non-existent galleries – a cry for attention and an attempt to get her career off the ground. This marketing offensive became the subject of her work. Under the name of Madame de Parme, Peeters made bold paintings with the text Unsold Painting no. 41, no. 42, et cetera, and painted price lists of her unsold works.

In her recent paintings, Peeters imagines the herringbone parquet floors of her dream galleries. Some have English words on them, such as browned, foxed, torn, or burnt, qualifications which are used in old master auction catalogues. They refer to the hundreds of paintings and drawings that Peeters has been storing in an old shed near her house for years and to the poor state in which they would undoubtedly have been found if her oeuvre had not emerged from oblivion.

Some of her unsold paintings have been painted over to create small windows offering glimpses of the underlying painting. Her playing with the past and the present is also visible in the paintings about her Dutch-Indo family tree which are both a playful nod at the identity debate and a tribute to her ancestors. Names play an important role in Peeters’s paintings. For example, she makes a connection between her family tree and the titles of works by Édouard Manet (La Brune) and Henri Matisse (La Mulâtresse). In other paintings she combines her first name with the names of men who loved a woman named Jacqueline (John F. Kennedy, Pablo Picasso). The result is both a light-hearted and dramatic poem-painting with Boolean operators.


Jacqueline Peeters (b. 1961, Eindhoven) lives and works in Geraardsbergen, Belgium. She studied at the Academie voor Beeldende Vorming in Tilburg and was a resident at Ateliers 63 in Haarlem from 1984 to 1986. In 1987 she won the Royal Award for Modern Painting. She had solo exhibitions at Motta Art Books in Eindhoven (1991), Kabinett in Bern (1998), Galerie van het Rhok in Brussels (Ballad of Supply and Demand,1999), Zazà Ramen in Milan (Unsold Paintings, 2020) and Gerhard Hofland Gallery in Amsterdam (Eat the heart gently, 2022).

Jacqueline Peeters, Eat the heart gently, 60 pages, ca. 40 illustrations, published by Motta Art Books on the occasion of the exhibition Eat the heart gently at Gerhard Hofland Gallery in Amsterdam, with an introduction by Dominic van den Boogerd, art critic and former director of De Ateliers, Amsterdam. Design: OnckWest, isbn 978-90-807520-0-9 Dutch/English.



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