23. ilb 06. - 16.09.2023

Peter Van den Ende

Peter Van den Ende was born in Antwerp in 1985. He learned various design techniques and began working intensively on art as a schoolchild. After graduating from high school, he initially studied biology, but his passion for drawing ultimately prevailed. It was the visual wealth of nature that triggered his sense of wonder as an artist and became his source of inspiration. His drawings are extremely detailed, play with symbols and connotations, but never impose a clear interpretation on the observer.

He worked on his well-received debut »Zwerveling« (2018; Eng. »Wanderer«, 2020) for three years. The seeds for this book were sown during his school days when he discovered works by Jules Verne with the original engravings by Édouard Riou and Alphonse de Neuville in the school library at the age of eleven. Like Verne, Van den Ende created a whimsical water world in black and white in »Zwerveling«. The visual design of this book, which works even without words, was largely influenced by Van den Ende’s time spent in the Cayman Islands, where he worked as a nature guide for two years and captured many photographic impressions. A paper boat is launched in the middle of the Pacific Ocean off on a long journey, meeting the strangest of beings. It passes between imposing mangroves, braves a storm, meets fantastic sea monsters, passes a huge oil rig, is played around with by seals, is saved from sinking by a submarine, and finally reaches a city where its passenger steps out onto a jetty. The visual symbiosis of the pure simplicity of the paper boat and the lush fantasy world steers the reader through illusion and reality, beauty and menace. »I once heard that an artist tells lies to depict the truth. I agree with that. […] The gigantic eel that the boat encounters at some point, the eel that is so big that it reaches to the horizon, is a kind of living labyrinth, like life itself. […] Truth and lies in this book enter into a more or less symbiotic relationship.« Currently, in addition to the German translation, Spanish, Catalan, French, British, and American editions of this work are in preparation.

Peter Van den Ende lives in Antwerp.