Saskia Pintelon Belgian , b. 1945

Overview

Belgium-born Saskia Pintelon moved to Sri Lanka in 1982. Inspired by local and universal issues, stories from the gut and the heart, politics and day-to-day concerns, her body of works interprets the collective human experience, environment and the cycle of life with intimate and personal preoccupations. Saskia Pintelon is at heart a figurative painter who periodically verges towards abstraction and text-based work. Physiognomy fascinates the artist and in the past translated itself into a series of large works, monochrome on recycled tea packaging bags, inspired by marriage proposals in the newspapers of Sri Lanka.  Her 2016 series titled I AM ME consists of works from two series, small mixed media-collages and large mixed-media collages. Both are part of an ongoing project whereby the artist revisits her own work in the published, printed accordion style book The Book of Faces. The themes are related to age, beauty, gender, internet use, love, obsession with fitness, isolation, loneliness and the balance between the public and the private us. Pintelon provides us a kaleidoscope of the physical and the emotional in her characteristic tongue-in-cheek approach as she subtracts, extracts and adds to give us a glimpse into what makes us really human.

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Biography

Born in Belgium, Saskia Pintelon studied & taught at St-Lucas School of Arts in the late sixties and was a practicing artist in Belgium before moving  to Sri Lanka in 1982. Her practice connects painting, drawing and collage while the subject of her work is inspired by local and universal issues, stories from the gut and the heart, politics and day-to-day concerns, her body of works interprets the collective human experience, environment and the cycle of life with intimate and personal preoccupations. Saskia Pintelon is at heart a figurative painter who periodically verges towards abstraction and text-based work.

 

In her early works, large painting on paper engaged her view as an expatriate in Sri Lanka. Works were distinctly inspired by the artists life in Sri Lanka, observing the aesthetic in day-to-day life. In the early 2000s her work began to verge towards an interest in physiognomy. The artist began collecting photographs from photo studios across the island and working with the photo and images in her work. This later transformed into her Faces series that was self-published in 2006 in the Book of Faces. Pintelon has reworked her own books in the decade to follow this publication, a series of which was republished as a limited edition print in 2013 for the Colombo Art Biennale, The Face in Your Place. In 2019 Pintelon exhibited  a limited edition work with 100 life-size reproductions in a three man show at the Museum Dhont-Dhaenens in Gent, Belgium. This same body of work was exhibited at the Dhaka Art Summit 2020 curated bi Diana Campbell Betancourt, the artists second participation since 2016 when her works were included in a show presented by Nada Raza. 

 

Primarily a painter, Pintelon's work derives inspiration from personal experience and landscapes, combining figuration and abstraction with conceptual and textual references to produce both large-scale, heavily worked and textured surfaces and smaller works. Previous series responded to the absurdity of violence and the aesthetics of destruction, the cycle of life and death and the civil war in Sri Lanka, all revisited with the artist's poignant sense of humour. Recent work includes portraiture and collage, raising feminist concerns such as the over-emphasis on physical beauty and reflecting on the changing social and cultural context of the world and her adopted home. She works from her light-filled studio on the south of the island. 

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