Christian Silvain

Born in 1950 - Belgium


Christian Silvain was born in 1950 in Eupen, Belgium. Following the neglect of his parents, Silvain spent his childhood with his two old aunts, who owned a toy store on the ground floor of their house. They encouraged him to draw and paint from the age of 3, in order for him to copy the many paintings that covered the walls of their house.

In 1964 and 1966 his aunts die and he moves to Brussels. Without money, a very difficult period begins, he struggles to survive. In 1967, he works in the theatre of Brussels as a handy man. He meets Maurice Béjart with whom he becomes friends, and Jacques Brel.

A self-taught painter, this is when he discovers the work of Paul Delvaux and decides he wants to be an artist. He begins to paint his first surrealist paintings, strongly influenced by the artist, which he considers a little as his spiritual father and with whom he has a long lasting friendship.

His first solo exhibition is at Bernard Van Berg in Brussels. From 1970 to 1974, he travels in France and then in Germany, he exhibits regularly in Belgium and abroad. He produces engravinsg and sculptures for a short period of time. In 1975, he meets Guy Pieters who will become his art dealer.

In the early 1980s he has his so-called period of "facades", at first very photo-realistic, but soon covered with graffiti and tags. The works of this period announce "Street Art", so fashionable today, before its time. In the late 1980s, the facades disappear little by little to leave the place to a poetic art inspired by drawings of autistic children that he visited often in specialized centres. They remind him of his own difficulties and lonely childhood, which he has not yet finished to process.

Numerous museums acquire his works. The Ludwig Museum in Germany devoted an exhibition to his series of works titled "Prisoners". Since 2002, Silvain produces works in black acrylic, with a scarlet red acrylic figure in the center, which represent sometimes a huge rabbit, an elephant, the head of a mother figure, or Mickey Mouse; the background of the work is full of disparate objects, broken toys, planes, knives... Often he writes short, sometimes shocking, disillusioned poetry phrases or words such as 'fear'.

Silvain infuses a touch of Pop Art in his latest works, the objects are familiar, but mainly he uses popular symbols that mark the unconscious childhood with the aim to desecrate it. Yet Christian Silvain does not belong to a group, school, or movement; he is a solitary artist. At first glance, his works appear happy, but they reveal themselves quickly to be riddled with signs, violent words and allusions.

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Galerie Mowatt au Canada
Galerie Lucien Schweitzer, Luxembourg
Galerie Morgens, Australie

Galerie Guy Pieters, St Martin-Latem, Belgique

Galerie du Centre, Paris

Galerie Dorval, Lille

Galerie Depypere
Classic, Courtrai, Belgique
Kunst & Buhne (Fondation Silvain, Eupen)

Art Paris, Grand Palais, Galerie du Centre

Galerie Suty, Coye-la-Forêt
Classic, Courtrai, Belgique

Estampes, Up-Art, Bruxelles
Boon Galleries, Bruxelles

Galerie Touchefeu, Sceau

Art Elysées, Galerie du Centre

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