From the studio of Lies Caeyers


In Studio, new forms and techniques are created by combining the knowledge and information garnered by previous generations with contemporary insights. 




In May 2018, Sven Gatz, the Flemish Minister for Culture at the time, launched a new subsidy with a view to supporting the transmission of artistic skills. In December 2018, grants were subsequently awarded to 27 apprenticeship projects, including the project proposal by Sophie Kuijken and Lies Caeyers. Als ich can serves to hand down traditional oil painting techniques with the additional goal of seeking out new applications for these techniques. The title of this project refers to Van Eyck’s famous inscription ‘als ich can’, Middle Dutch for ‘to the best of my ability’.


Aside from the simple transmission of traditional painting techniques, this study also focused, in the spirit of the old masters, on an exploration of the durability of contemporary materials in building up the layers of an oil painting. Efforts were also made to find a suitable glazing technique that would allow a digitally printed background to inform the end result. This latter endeavour can again be related to the vision of Van Eyck, who very consciously investigated the combination of existing techniques with the latest scientific insights of his time.

When it came to form, Lies Caeyers took inspiration from Van Eyck’s approach of using scientific instruments to visualise things that cannot by seen with the naked eye. Using modern SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy) technology, with the assistance of Professor Diederik Depla of the University of Ghent’s Department of Solid State Sciences, Caeyers attained microscopic imagery of the seeds of the plants that feature in The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. The seeds symbolise the transfer of information from generation to generation. The monochromatic SEM images were printed directly onto ayous wood and, evoking Van Eyck’s grisaille technique, served as an underlayer on which multiple layers of oil paint could be carefully built up.

> text The Technique and Skills of Van Eyck by Lies Caeyers (in Dutch)

Origanum Syriacum (Syrian oregano), oil on wood, 40 x 50 cm 

Silene Coronaria (Rose campion), oil on wood, 42 x 60 cm

Saxifraga Granulata (Meadow saxifrage), oil on wood, 50 x 35,5 cm

Paeonia Mascula (Male peony), oil on wood,  42 x 60 cm

Achila Millefolium (Common yarrow), oil on wood, 70 x 29 cm




Hermann Minkowski, a German scientist from the 19th century, was the first to describe a mathematical space in which time was added as the fourth dimension.


In the production of The Children of Minkowski, a mathematical formula generates algorithmic derivatives of a 3D scan of the human body, resulting in an infinite series of strange forms. Working backwards, their consolidation could lead back to the original form, making them formal forebears.

A collaboration with Kasper Jordaens.


© Lies Caeyers

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