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City of lightS By Carl Soete


Belgian artist Carl Soete is professionally active and appreciated as a graphic designer. By definition he 'manipulates ' shapes and colors for professional purposes. The icons and symbols he designs are created in function of name recognition, guidance, highlighting the identity of a person or an organization, an association, an institution or a company. Purpose and functionality are inevitable on top.

The recent series of paintings are about characters, but which are no longer visibly present. They are rather underlying, abstract as an expression of bundled concreteness. And that is exactly why they are all the more important. To Carl Soete, the city is a playground full of signs, symbols, shapes and colors. The interaction between them presents a general colourful and dynamic atmosphere. Without those signs the city would be really drab and gray. Manifest herself as a petrified and inert mass. But those who go on a voyage of discovery through his work see a kind of patchwork, a mix, violent fireworks of colours in an endless variety of forms.

His paintings are a farandole of colours and shapes. They glow and whirl. They burst with energy. They interpret the dynamics and the liveliness of the city in a string of what could be car headlights. Or the bright light of advertising panels that prevail on the illuminated windows and streets around them. It is the light of early dawn or the evening glow of busy activities during the day. Colour and light interact in a indeterminable flow of life, whose force receives confirmation from the strong colour palette. His lively colours occupy the space with vivid colors are powerful stripes or dots, without making them appear disorderly. No, there is a subtle system which connect the coloured forms with each other and forms clusters of urban life. The light of the city is layered and loaded. It attracts in a magnetic way.
To Carl Soete all of this is pure poetry. It is not poetry of the city poet who wants to hack into the objectivity of the city existence. It is not poetry arising from an opposition against the hustle. It is not poetry that calls for another existence. No poetry what wallows in nostalgia. It is poetry that thrives from the force and the liveliness of the city with her dexterity and multitude. It’s about poetry as a colourful emotion. Poetry that derives from the experience of an urban ' ambiente ', that captivates or hurts, touches and moves, captivates, binds and connects. It is a poetry that does not draw her strength from the sound and rhythm of letters, words and syllables. But she draws her fascination from the game of lights and colours that holds our attention.
In the paintings by Carl Soete we find the traces of an abstract expressionism. The pictorial and formal wealth activate our look. He resumes and is moved by the flashing lines and dots that move next to and in each other. Our gaze is trying to decipher the 'story'. We try hard to see the whole an behold harmony. In short, his paintings make us 'work'. Those who refuse this work will banalize the paintings to colourful decoration. Those who see the paintings will discover depth and spaciousness to finally finds final silence on the point where we surrender without resistance to the flow of life that moves around in them.

Overview of recent exhibitions

Solo shows

  • 2015 Galerie Schortgen Luxembourg
  • 2014 Galerie Blomme, Roeselare, Belgium
  • 2014 Galerie Schortgen, Luxembourg

Group shows (selection)

  • 2015 Art Laren, Laren, Netherlands
  • 2015 Galerie Leopold 22, Knokke Heist, Belgium
  • 2015 Affordable Art Fair, Maastricht, Netherlands
  • 2015 Affordable Art Fair Brussel, Belgium
  • 2014 ST.Art Strasbourg, France
  • 2014 Art International Zürich, Switserland
  • 2014 Galerie Amaterasu, Wouwse Plantage, Netherlands
  • 2014 Art Laren, Laren, Netherlands
  • 2014 Art up! Lille, France
  • 2014 Affordable Art Fair Brussel, Belgium
  • 2014 Group exhibition ’t Casteelken, Roeselare, Belgium