The Flemish artist Brecht Vandenbroucke was born in Veurne in 1986. He attended the Sint-Lukas University College of Art and Design studying illustration and has made himself known as an illustrator, painter, comic-author and filmmaker over the past years.
His style as an illustrator is inspired by Disney cartoons and comics from old journals as well as by contemporary Pop-Art artists – he himself cites among others Mark Beyer, ATAK, Charlotte Solomon, Topor, Henry Darger, David Shrigley, Daisuke Ichiba, and Glen Baxter. »I love culture in all its forms«, is how he sums his understanding of himself. »I do not see any differences between Pop and Underground culture.« His acrylic paintings and comics echo the influences of surrealism. They show his way of dealing with experiences and thoughts to do with social subjects such as art, economy, the working class, or racism. At the same time they express his great sense of humour. »In his paintings and comics, fun and pleasure superimpose – often subtly, sometimes quite openly – relevant subjects and tragedies«, it is said in an acclaim of the Fumetto Comix-Festival which honoured him with a solo exhibition in 2011. »He understands the world as a complex and uncontrollable chaos where every attempt to check and control must fail.«
The most important work of Vandenbroucke as a comic-author so far is the humorous episodic narrative »White Cube« (2013). It started as a fanzine and is now available in hardcover. At its centre there are two nearly identical looking bald men with pink faces. Vandenbroucke calls them the »aesthetics critics«. Both men visit art exhibitions and events in a gleefully buoyant way and make their naïve and malicious comments about contemporary art. Both always express their opinions – sometimes by taking the respective piece of art into their own hands and either giving it a finishing touch or modifying or even destroying it, sometimes by commenting on it using the Facebook thumbs-up. They also continue this behaviour in their everyday lives getting them into bizarre situations now and again. For his painted comic-panels and his paintings and art printings, Vandenbroucke uses shining colours and plays to some extent with the stylistic elements of the art form or style of the era referred to. They manage most of the situations completely without words, the dialogue between the two being confined to sign language.
The comic works of Vandenbroucke fit smoothly into his other artistic oeuvre, the subjects of which are described by the artist as follows: »I am interested in popular culture, happiness, madness, surrealism, loneliness, death, and alienation.« He has also said that, next to the serious issues in life, fun is his central driving force. The artist lives in Gent.