JEF GEYS

Jef Geys has summed up his entire oeuvre as an ongoing project that combines conceptual attitudes, educational activities and formal experiments. By doing so he expands the range of what constitutes an artistic experience: from the 1960’s to 1989, Jef Geys was appointed Teacher of Positive Aesthetics at a school in Balen and started to map out the possibilities of the learning process. Both on an educational as artistic level, the school was a kind of laboratory of different activities, which linked social, political and aesthetical concerns.

From the start, his work was also set against the art market and the institutional authorities. He critiques and calls into question the authority of certain accepted practices (his own and those of others) including art criticism. In his practice, Geys affirms a radical independent position and develops an unprecedented approach to collective creativity, frequently generated by the participation of his immediate community. Indeed, much of his work has to do with the term ‘terroir’ in the sense of biotope, using typical representations of everyday life. One of his most well known works is ‘zaadzakjes’: each year, he paints copies of the beautiful flowers that are pictured on seed packages with their common and scientific name. Among other projects, the artist has also converted an art gallery into a grocery store.