“Marcel Ceuppens has become internationally popular with the images you see here, a collection of vignettes that are very minimal, but deeply communicative and full of irony.
The same character always populates these vignettes: everyman, an ordinary man whose universality is reinforced by an eternal suit and tie, business briefcase, and especially the white void that occupies his face, like an echo of the huge gap diffused around him. This is clearly a contemporary character, a dweller in a suit that shows his complete astonishment when he contemplates his surroundings.
The End of The World, Marcel Ceuppens, 2010
I suspect that this common man is rooted in the imagery that fills the very popular paintings of another Belgian artist: René Magritte. Also there, and coming from a methodic surrealism, a paradox of otherness became present in everyday life through the use of ordinary objects.
Ceuppens is apparently enthusiastic about
mid-century art, design and architecture, which leads me to guess that at least a small portion of these images of Ceuppens collect some of the poetic film of Jacques Tati, especially in films like Playtime (1967), where Tati, French petit bourgeois paradigm, is attending the cryptic spectacle of modern life with a rare mixture of bewilderment and boldness that automatically provokes our sympathy, and whose original formula is definitely inspired by Buster Keaton.
French Actor Jacques Tati Looking at the High Ceiling of an Office Lobby, Yale Joel, unidentified date
Art!, Marcel Ceuppens, 2010
However, both the proportion and scale of these images (our average man always seems small or insignificant in relation to an extremely broad spatial context, and out of real space and time) make me suspect that Ceuppens hasn’t just been influenced- or at least not exclusively- by Magritte or Tati, but has also absorbed part of the visual discourse of Gilbert Garcin (La Ciotat, 1929), an amateur photographer following in recent years has attracted a great attention, and whose visual universe has clear debt to Magritte's paradoxes, with Tati's humor, and an old school photographer who made the art of collage, literally, their own space.
The Painter, Marcel Ceuppens, 2010
La différence, Gilbert Garcin, 2004
Without giving up his own face, but always insert a sober attire and immovable, Garcin raises trenchant questions that deal with a melancholy sense of humor universal problems of normal life, the passage of time or the role of art in contemporary society. And although a little less bitter, ironic view Ceuppens also reminds me of the pathetic and stylized characters that populate the films of Swedish Roy Andersson. The peculiarity of Ceuppens lies perhaps in his interest in ‘today’, making some of his works into something very similar to a press bullet.
Haïti!, Marcel Ceuppens, 2010
The fact that Ceuppens has achieved to communicate the real social impact –or indifference- of international events such as the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajoküll, or the devastating earhtquake in Haiti with such an effective and limited range of resources, can only be acknowledged as brilliant.”
Rrose Sélaby | December 2010
“The Everyman Digital Paintings portfolio
by Marcel Ceuppens explores themes of disconnection, complacency and detachment as a universal aspect of day-to-day existence. Centered around a faceless man situated within different dream-like locations, the paintings seem to beg the question: “where is one’s place in the world?”
Marcel Ceuppens’ paintings all seem to illicit
a sense of sublime suspension, as if passing through a familiar yet undefinable void.
They are reminiscent of a dream where elements of your surroundings are recognizable, yet the environment in its entirety is a fabrication.
Masterfully illustrated, these images attest to Marcel Ceuppens’s ability to extract
a sensation and develop it into a statement. The result is a variety of paintings that all have a feeling of disconnection and loneliness.”
Trendhunter.com | March 2012
“Marcel Ceuppens is an ex art director/graphic designer in Belgium. Here you see samples
of his brilliantly economic, highly conceptual digital paintings.
Marcel tells me he began creating these beautiful works “because they give me the freedom to do whatever I want, and whatever
I feel like”.
He is inspired by his passion for mid-century art, design and architecture.
And obviously quite talented with a digital paintbrush.
Marcel’s protagonist—his “everyman”—appears solo or with cookie cutter duplicity throughout these paintings. Each work possesses a specified narrative within a spare, minimalist context and no doubt is very communicative. It is easy to either directly relate, or be rather familiar with this universal character as he conforms to the expected norms of both life and work in an unresisting manner and as he passively observes out of the ordinary natural disasters. Our protagonist appears detached; he is faceless and nonemotive but we empathize with him nonetheless.
I look forward to watching where Marcel takes this ingenious and well designed series next.”
Amy Henderson | Aqua-Velvet
Digital Man Living in a Curious World
Marcel Ceuppens is a freelance art director who is incredibly talented with a digital paintbrush! Inspired by mid-century art, design, and architecture, Ceuppens creates these incredibly intriguing scenes that capture the essence of his version of “Everyman.” The minimalist paintings are anything but minimal in the underlying message of universality. “It is easy to either directly relate, or be rather familiar with this universal character as he conforms to the expected norms of both life and work in an unresisting manner.”
The faceless character in each scene seems to lack emotion, almost willingly surrendering to boredom. But then, we see the character painting a circle while looking at squares or engaging with a family and the narrative sparks a new, complex curiosity within each scene and across the series.
My Modern Met | March 2012