Drawings : Stefaan van Biesen

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Drawing, a tool for learning.


Researchers, teachers, and artists are starting to see how drawing can positively impact a wide variety of skills and disciplines. Doing so helps people to perceive the world more accurately, remember facts better, and understand their world from a new perspective, as a tool for seeing and to understand it better.


In many ways, human beings are built to draw. Charles Darwin wrote: 'Man could not have attained his present dominant position in the world without the use of his hands'. Drawing is an ancient human activity, practiced for centuries by manifesting things visually. Drawing talent is based on how accurately someone perceives the world.


Cultivating drawing talent can become an essential tool to improve people's observational skills in fields where the visual is important. In biology, for example, describing and categorizing the shape and form of living things is critical. Prior to the invention of the photograph, biologists were trained draftsmen: they had to be in order to show the world the details of new species. Now, some biology professors are reintroducing physical drawing in their biology courses. The reasoning is that actively deciding to draw helps people see the world better.



Drawings. The ensemble of these drawings are introspective/retrospective. It includes themes and studies that have led to the realization of works in the form of performances, installations or events during projects, somewhere along the way…





[Àmare II] Gallery Ysebaert, Maenhoutstraat 60, 9830 Sint-Martens-Latem Belgium 2023.

Work of the artists of the àmare in situ exhibition at Damme curated by Annelies Ysebaert.



Duo drawing: Zwermer/Swarmer - For Breugel 2023




S E C R E T E N [Science & Poetry...]


Drawings to perceive the natural world more accurately, remember facts better. To understand it from a new perspective. As a tool for seeing and to understand it better.



Drawings [50 cm x 65 cm]. A series of drawings since 1990. Paper: Hollands Van Gelder.

[download here pdf file of these drawings].





[Sag mir wo die Blumen sind] Group exhibition Museum castle Dépendance in Oiron France 2023.



Duo drawing: Rosentraum study & Ex Voto Walk/ performance [La Romieu 2016] 2023.



[Rosentraum / Leafless] study drawing performance. Ink, watercolor and pencil on Steinbach paper.


The study drawing 'Leafless' [2022] is based on a poem by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. It is a study of a performance, which took place in a first version in 2017 at the Lefkosia Dancehouse in Nicosia, [Cyprus] during the Urban Emptiness Festival [performance by Maya Dalinsky [USA/B], Anastasia McCammon [UK] and Arianna Ecounomou [Cy]. Later in Athens, [Greece, The Art Foundation] 2018, during the Analogio Festival [Leafless (IV)]. Duo performance by Eleftheria Rapti & Lina Eftstathiou. Prop by Annemie.


Curated by Geert Vermeire & the Milena principle





[Almanak van de Zoete Melancholie] a writing/drawing project with writer Johan De Vos 2022-2023.



Johan De Vos & Stefaan van Biesen Stefaan van Biesen made 27 drawings/watercolors on Steinbach paper A4 format. Art edition on 33 copies, signed Printed on Biotop paper 300 gr. at Fast Copy NV in Beveren (naturally bleached, chlorine-free paper, FSC certified with EU Ecolabel.


At the request of Stefaan van Biesen, Johan De Vos wrote a text for every drawing. An exciting collaboration between writer and draftsman. A cross-pollination between language and image. He writes about this: "Each image has a 'punctum', something that the viewer pays irrationally about and that will determine forever, certainly for him, perhaps for someone else, somewhere , also". Johan De Vos [1942] previously published five books on photography. He was director of the Municipal Academy of Fine Arts in Sint-Niklaas and wrote for De Morgen and De Standaard. He founded Stoff VZW to tackle the asbestos problem. maps and this led to the publication of 'Het Boek van Sint-Niklaas' and 'Christiane Thys'





[ O M Z W E R V I N G E N ] the Dürer Connection. 100 Drawings: ink on Steinbach paper 2022-2023.

50 cm x 40 cm. Gallery Ysebaert, Maenhoutstraat 60, 9830 Sint-Martens-Latem Belgium 2023.



Duo drawing 20: Heuvelland (walk) 2022


Wanderings? Because my artistic work has evolved so multidisciplinary, I have an extensively documented personal archive. It seemed particularly interesting to connect in a current way with the vision and work (in this case graphics) of Albrecht Dürer. Not only in terms of technique (pen on paper), his humanism, but also as a tribute to his 'modernity', which is still a source of inspiration.


Drawings. The ensemble of these drawings are introspective/retrospective. It includes themes and studies that have led to the realization of works in the form of performances, installations or events during projects, somewhere along the way…






[Drawings] book launch: 'Can We Trust China?' by Pascal Coppens • Pelckmans Publisher spring 2022.


23.03.22 Port of Antwerp, Havenhuis Antwerp • 25.04.22 ING Arts Centre Brussels Belgium.


Pascal Coppens: China expert [been living in Shanghai for more than 20 years]. The writer of his second book about China. The book aims to provide a correct and contemporary picture of Chinese society. Or how our western world view is very different from the Chinese way of thinking. Stefaan van Biesen is making a number of drawings that will complement the themes in the book.




10 drawings by Stefaan van Biesen




[Wanderings/Omzwervingen] 6 chinese ink drawings on Steinbach paper made for the publication of STOFF A9 [asbestos victims] magazine Sint-Niklaas Belgium 2022.





[Psiax # 4 Journal] Publication on drawing and walking ⋈ University Guimaraes Portugal.



Read extract pdf of the publication: Walking on Paper > > >


Studies and Reflections on Drawing and Image 2nd series, nº 4


The next issue of PSIAX journal focuses on the question: "How walking and drawing intersect". What works, art pieces, projects or theoretical considerations allow us to show, and to question, the act of walking, of wandering, as well as its joint - intertwined - purpose of drawing? In the well-known expression of the Spanish poet A. Machado, we can read that "there is no road, the road is made by walking”. Within this sense, which overruns the idea of a method, of a path already known, we could say that the act of drawing is done with the "walking" of drawings but also within the possibility of, while walking, the draftsman giving meaning to the power of drawing. Whether as a travel experience, as a short break in the territory's journey, as an exercise in analysing or recording the landscape, or as a projective, poetic or performative action. What practices, themes, contents, and what results, allow to simultaneously integrate the gesture of drawing and the experience of the walker, the flâneur, the traveler or the passerby? Thus, drawings, artistic projects, images, papers, essays, contextualizing or critical texts are intended to account for and / or problematize the experience of walking / drawing.




[Wander Weed Drawings] Vijd project Herbarium exhibition ⋈ Beveren Belgium 16.05 > 05.06.2021.



Christa Maes [nature development Beveren] plans an exhibition about the herbarium. Previously exhibited plant drawings, which were shown in the Mozaïek [Mijn naam is Vijd] / Mosaic expo [My name is Vijd], together with new drawings, are shown in this project.



Drawings of plants: plantain and dandelion 2020.




[Oratio de hominis dignitate] An artistic research [drawings & visions].


"Human dignity lies in the perseverance with which the hopeless work is done" [Arnon Grunberg]


Drawings & visions about the human condition 2021. This artistic project aims to make a connection between our human and social behavior in relation to the literary and philosophical legacy of the renaissance writer and thinker Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.



This artistic research is conceived as a commentary on human behavior in relation to social, ecological, philosophical visions and observations. It is a multidisciplinary diary in which certain of these themes are questioned in order to understand what concerns people. Pico della Mirandola's metaphysical vision, based on Neo-platonism, [prayer in the Renaissance world of ideas], is taken as a guideline for portraying these phenomena.


Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, count di Concordia, (born Feb. 24, 1463, Mirandola, duchy of Ferrara [Italy]—died Nov. 17, 1494, Florence), Italian scholar and Platonist philosopher whose 'De hominis dignitate oratio' [Oration on the Dignity of Man, a characteristic Renaissance work composed in 1486], reflected his syncretistic method of taking the best elements from other philosophies and combining them in his own work.




[My Daily Longings] prints of walks in the region.



A limited edition of prints based on various walks in the area. Dimensions: 46 cm x 32 cm. Paper: Biotop.




MOZAÏEK [Mijn naam is Vijd] CC Ter Vesten Beveren Belgium 01.07 > 11.10.2020.

A multi disciplinairy project ⋈ Drawings - Photos - Video.



Tekst Nederlands door Johan De Vos, lees pdf > >

English text by Johan De Vos, read pdf > >


Above: pencil drawing by Stefaan van Biesen 2019.


In response to the Jan Van Eyck year in 2020 and at the invitation of CC Ter Vesten and Erfgoed Beveren, Stefaan van Biesen started in the spring of 2019 an artistic research into the figure of Joos Vijd who ordered the Ghent Altarpiece [1432] from Jan Van Eyck.


Apart from the historical facts and existing documents, we can only guess at the intentions and ambitions of Joos Vijd. This sometimes leads to different views and interpretations. Nevertheless, it seems somewhat plausible that Joos Vijd had a great preference for the circles from which the painters Van Eyck have extracted their knowledge and can therefore not be seen merely as the principal and financier of the Ghent Altarpiece. The fact that Philip De Goede, given the size and duration of this work, agreed to 'lend' Jan Van Eyck (who was also responsible for the glamor of the Court) to a subject like Vijd, is special and indicates a great affection towards Joos Vijd.


On Facebook [Dutch language] : Vijd Awa



About MOSAIC [My name is Vijd]:


The project / research of Stefaan van Biesen received the working title: MOSAIC [My name is Vijd]. This exhibition starts on July 1, 2020 and runs until October 11, 2020. Location: castle Cortewalle (the former residence of Joos Vijd). Appointment: online on the CC Ter Vesten website. Due to the Corona measures, the official opening will take place at a later, yet to be determined date.


This multidisciplinary project consists of a section of 80 drawings/notes, video, photo installations, soundscapes, texts / stories and publications: (an overview of the drawings).


A search for Joos Vijd: symbolism and themes in the Ghent Altarpiece are placed in a contemporary context, starting from the person of Vijd, (a descendant of a Flemish patrician family depicted on the Ghent Altarpiece, together with his wife Isabella Borluut. on the outside hatch). These elements are tested against our contemporary living environment. Which connections can be made and which are still relevant and are therefore perceived as timeless? Is the time and environment in which Vijd lived still topical and tangible in our human, social and intercultural relationships?



The exhibition consists of drawings as a contemporary commentary [A4 pencil on paper].



Stefaan van Biesen is internationally known as a contemporary visual artist. In his work, the emphasis is not only on the finished image, but also on the quest that leads to this artistic result. Each image is a step in a larger study. Recurring elements in this question are religion, society and nature. In Jan Van Eyck's oeuvre he finds a related philosophical undertone that is surprisingly topical.


Stefaan van Biesen analyzes the work of the Burgundian painter on the basis of his own drawings. In doing so, he starts from contemporary photos in which figures, poses and subjects are reminiscent of the masterpiece. These images, often the posture of hands, function as an archetype when he places them in their contemporary context. He draws these elements with such an eye for detail that the result is reminiscent of medieval miniatures.


Stefaan van Biesen considers the act of drawing as a meditative experience. He concentrates on each line, marvels at the interplay and is touched when the finished image emerges from the loose lines and surfaces.


He provides each drawing with notes: ideas that arise during drawing and references to the research that leads to this result. The relationship between historical symbolism and contemporary action results in an almost mystical experience. Drawing is not only an artistic instrument, but also a skill that leads to progressive insight and has an indisputable impact on work and research. The draftsman perceives the world with greater accuracy and from multiple perspectives. The artist understands through the act of registering.


Source: Christl Van den Broucke, CC Ter Vesten





( V ) A D E R Wall installation/integration with drawings at Cortewalle Castle Beveren Belgium 2021.



Joos Vijd who lived at Cortewalle ordered the Ghent Altarpiece [1432] from Jan Van Eyck. This work is a memorial to him and his wife Isabella Borluut.


Wall installation (V)ADER [Father/Vein] 2021. A Spin off the exhibition Mozaïek [Mijn naam is Vijd]. CC Ter Vesten Beveren Belgium 01.07 > 11.10.2020. A multi disciplinairy project.




[ D R A W I N G S - S P A Z I E R G A N G W I S S E N S C H A F T ] .


'The urban flaneur'.



Spaziergangwissenschaft [Walking as an absolute science]: writings, reflections, drawings, models, performances about society, ecology versus economy... . It is seen as a forum for discussion about sociological and ecological visions. In this project there are links to Alfred Dürer [1471 - 1528], Caspar David Friedrich [1774 - 1840], Friedrich Nietzsche [1844-1900], Fernando Pessoa [1888-1935], Joseph Beuys [1921-1986], Luis Baragan [1902-1988], Willem Schinkel [1976], ...




D R A W I N G S - O N - P A P E R > >

See drawings [Promenadology] Spaziergangwissenschaft 2009-2010 [download pdf file] > > >



D R A W I N G S : W A N D E R L U S T [pencil drawings on acid-free writing paper 21 cm x 29,7 cm].




D R A W I N G S - O N - W R I T I N G - P A P E R > >

[Wanderlust] Drawings on writing paper 2015-2017 [download pdf file].



D R A W I N G S : H E A D W A N D E R E R [conté & charcoal drawings and copper paint on paper].




Head Wanderer Drawings [50 cm x 65 cm]. A series of drawings since 1990. Paper: Hollands Van Gelder.

[download here pdf file of these drawings].




[Hytholdaeus] [drawings and watercolour on paper 21 cm x 29,7 cm].



D R A W I N G S / W A T E R C O L O U R S > >

Hytlodaeus ensemble: drawings & watercolor [Download pdf file].




[Virus Ensemble] 8 Drawings/Watercolour [2014].

Based on a research of the writer and Nobel price winner Saramago [1922-2010].

Exhibition [Le parole, le immagini del desiderio] S&H De Buck Galery Ghent Belgium 2020.



Study for Dr. Simona Vermeire 2014 Minho University Braga Portugal.




D R A W I N G S - O N - P A P E R > >



[O Passeio Branco] Spaziergangwissenschaft Lisbon Portugal 2013 [21 cm x 29,7 cm] [download pdf file].




D R A W I N G S / W A T E R C O L O U R > >



[The Dürer Connection - Archetypes] a hidden agenda 2009-2010. Watercolour on paper.

[21 cm x 29,7 cm] [download pdf].




S T U D Y - D R A W I N G S .


[Obstacle/Passage/Obstacle]. Study Geboortepark Zwijndrecht Belgium 2017>2018.



Sculpture/permanent installation public space for a birth park of the community of Zwijndrecht in Belgium. Installation / Reconstruction of the little gate on the painting of Hieronymous Bosch [1450-1516]: 'the lost son'. (Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen, the Netherlands). A symbol of rebirth and change.




W A N D E R L U S T - W A T E R C O L O U R


[Wanderlust] Watercolour on paper - S&H De Buck Ghent 2013- Passages La Romieu 2016 [download pdf file].




S T U D Y . D R A W I N G S / M I X E D . M E D I A [a nomadic museum of drawings].




Drawing paper in our bagpacks. A nomadic way of making drawings while travelling and working in situ. Then left at the place where they were made as a gift to one who was our host. These works are always made on site in relation to the place and within the context of the host's intimacy and living environment. Mostly it are people who are contacted and chosen for their art historical importance allthough they lived in anonymity: for example, intimate friends of late German iconic artist Joseph Beuys like Rhea Thonges Stringaris and her friends.


The nomadic aspect of the renaissance artists, who travelled all over Europe like Albrecht Dürer [1471-1528]. Journeys become art projects, laboratories of thoughts. Drawings and other artefacts arise from encounters. Notes, artefacts and drawings embellish the journey. [the Dürer Connection].


The house of Niki Fröhling Amsterdam NL, the house of Dr. Rhea Thonges Stringaris & Ingrid Pee Kassel 2007, Velha-a-Branca Cultural Centre Braga Portugal 2010 & Museu Nogueira da Silva [How long is Now?] Braga Portugal 2012, The house of Jany Niemeijer & Bert De Rijcke, De Leegte Nieuwolda NL 2010, Art Athina Athens 2015.




[Whispering (I)] & [Leafless]

2 Studies performances Urban Emptiness Nicosia Festival 2017 [21 cm x 29,7 cm].



S T U D Y - D R A W I N G S .


Drawings as a study for a performance [or attributes created for and used during these events] are often used to understand the problems involved in certain actions in relation with the philosophical background of the subject. Also to plan the elements to be used in the process of making performances [or works], such as light, color, form, fabric or material and how they relate to the place, to the body, the audience, as a gesture of silence or as an urban ritual and the scope of their intention. These drawings meant as a study, can have more impact than more-elaborately planned work, due to the insights the artist gains while exploring the subject.



[the snail of time] study of a performance 2004 [pencil on paper : 98 cm x 42 cm, self portrait].



M O N O L I T H .

[44 cm x 111 cm]. Colored drawing. Pencil and bister on paper.



O N E D A Y W H E N I W A S W A L K I N G .

[44 cm x 127 cm]. Colored drawing. Pencil and bister on paper.




T R A C E S . O F . M E M O R Y

An ongoing, current project with Dr. Shaomin Xue [China/Belgium].



Shaomin xue is a Chinese doctor, who teaches and is practicing Chinese medicin, influenced by her homeland, the philosophy of Confusius. In China writing is considered as art. The drawings and watercolours of Stefaan van Biesen are a field of thoughts and combine two cultures, making connections with different views.





Merci Marie Petronelle. Cyclus. A family story.



[Mercie, Marie Petronelle] China Art Archives and Warehouse Beijing China. curator: Frank Uytterhaegen.

[Download pdf file 8 watercolours]




T H E B O O K I A M [I Write Myself, Diary Drawing] 1992.





[Passages/Box of Walks] a travelling nomadic museum.


The Box of Walks is an artifact of a nomadic museum of walks [drawings, prints, maps, painted figures], that are displayed in situ for a limited time. It is taken in the luggage of the artist on the go and shown to the public when the opportunity arises.



A series of small boxes of nomadic drawings of the landscape while walking and observing the region. The precipitation of an artistic and philosophical process by making walks. Sometimes artifacts, video and photographs are included. Even text on the drawings as travelling notes. This nomadic aspect of making work during travelling is related to the renaissance artists, who travelled all over Europe like the German artist Albrecht Dürer [1471-1528] did. Journeys become art projects, laboratories of thoughts. Drawings and other artefacts arise from encounters. Notes, artefacts and drawings embellish the journey. [the Dürer Connection].




Drawing studio 1976






© private foundation van biesen-mestdagh 03.01.2024