The viewers are confronted with motifs such as weightlifters wearing posing thongs, a duel under palm trees, or burning stakes. Traditional genres like the still life, landscape painting, or historical scenarios are used playfully as a framework to create new narratives. The painter intuitively spins components of multifarious images from his memory to create bizarre scenarios.
These scenarios frequently play out in exotic locales, places of longing, or dream landscapes. Palm trees, forests, and sunsets frame remote huts or the scene of a police checkpoint. The freestyle painting, strange color effects, and the use of various materials like oil paints, oil pastels, or colored pencils result in a visual immediacy. Often unshaped, plump or distorted figures complement the apparent simplicity of a visual world that always has an ironic subtext. Standard power structures are questioned by turning the inner logic of familiar motifs upside down. For example, the microcosm of a harem, in contrast to conventional ways of thinking, is used to show a group of men as lust objects for a female authority.
The humorous scenes initially veil Pierre Knop’s interest in social structures, roles, and relationships of domination. At the same time, the ironic façade makes possible a playful approach to the subjects depicted. Themes treated include ritualized violence in the representation of duels or the relationship of perpetrators and victims in images of witch burnings. These motifs are abstracted by way of a simplified mode of presentation and robbed of their brutality. In this way, the apparent naïveté of the painting operates as a strategy to approach the viewers and to transport unfamiliar visions to their life reality.
© 2018 Pierre Knop