CHANTAL GRARD complex sculptures and drawings

In the Bruges Gallery "IN BETWEEN ART" CHANTAL GRARD (°1970) shows sculptures and drawings until 26/05. The artist is the daughter of GEORGE GRARD, whom I have always considered "our" Maillol (1861-1944), and of Francine Van Mieghem (1930-2023), also a sculptor who died last winter.

In "Ten Boomgaerde" (Koksijde) a collection of works by master George Grard is on permanent display, an ode to the beauty of women.

Chantal went to La Cambre, studied monumental arts there and has been working for some time on an oeuvre that is far removed from what her parents once made.

The long title of the exhibition hides a lot and actually says almost everything about the oeuvre: "RHYTHM OF GROWTH AND METAMORPHOSE... EMPOWERING POSSIBILITIES".

Chantal Grard is inspired by living organisms. She sculpts shapes that refer to the growth stages of humans, animals and plants. The sculptures are often quite complex constructions and yet... 

I talked to her for a while. She seems to me to be a calm person who can unite all visual growth in a very controlled way and make it viable.

When you enter the gallery you are surprisingly confronted with a bronze duet that is nothing but pure simplicity. A sublime work whose skin is reminiscent of the kneading and rubbing of the maker's hands.

Chantal Grard uses different materials: clay, plaster, paraffin, wax and bronze. She draws with charcoal. Exceptional! She has developed her own formal language, which has its origins in a period when figurative work was 'not done'.

The gallery in this quiet city center street is open from Friday to Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. You can also sit there, in Rozendal (10), about a 5-minute walk from the Grote Markt. For a chat or a longer. 

​Johan Debruyne
May 8th 2024


Chantal Grard's exceptional exhibition is not going unnoticed and was picked up by the Bruges cultural newspaper Exit and the cultural magazine Kunstpoort. Read more about Chantal's work and her exhibition, which runs through May 26 at IN BETWEEN ART, in the following article:

The new Bruges gallery is a small pearl: IN BETWEEN ART


In Rozendal, (still called “Val des Roses” in my youth), a Bruges street that quietly follows the busy Ezelstraat, Bruges resident KRIS DEMUELENAERE has converted a house into a location that is suitable for exhibitions of visual arts and can also be used. for other artistic matters involving music and/or words. “In Between Art” is the name of this Bruges acquisition. Kris lives in the house next door.

Furthermore, Kris Demuelenaere is an artist himself. He dreams, cuts and rubs very beautiful sculptures from rough blocks of various types of stone: beautiful, elegant, skilled. He initially makes small “models” with plasticine. Finger exercises precede the big work. He is currently showing the visitor a series of images. They are made of (various types of) marble, bronze (exceptional) and alabaster. The images are presented expertly and tastefully and the light plays an important role in both creation and presentation. There is also a relatively small oval table in the room where you can sit and watch, of course. The open kitchen suggests that there is sometimes a coffee on the table. This luck fell to me.




On a refined brochure I read that Kris' work is a fascinating search for a combination of mass and tension, spontaneous lines and cuts, a play of light and shadow, abstraction and simplicity...

I had a strange feeling. On the one hand, it seemed as if I had been thrown back in time a few decades, because especially in my early years as a critic, I explained and/or reviewed many sculptors' work. I spontaneously think of Renaat Ramon, the late Gerrit Germompré, Lieven de Brabandere... These types of creations seemed like a long way off and look, what, say, this Demuelenaere does with the stone is different from what the predecessors I know have done. A bit towards design, very refined, but I love it!


When I was there on that rainy Sunday, a certain BERNARD NACHTERGAELE walked by. Over time I knew that this man also carves his statues from stones with endless patience and skill. But figuratively. It was a pleasure to hear them talk about the subject. To feel their love for the material. The great urge to travel to Italy and Spain again, to Carrara for the famous marble or Aragon for the alabaster.

In this exhibition, “SHAPE AND FORM… A VISUAL AND TACTILE EXPERIENCE”, Demuelenaere plays a beautiful duet with JEROEN BROUX. Paintings in which geometric figures or elements thereof touch or slide past each other. This also seemed like it was a while ago. Szymborska is right about this again: nothing essentially changes. But now again that little bit different. And it's nice how you see how the brush strokes and the paint can be seen and felt in that well-defined, apparently calculated and quite cool play of shapes. Wonderful colours!

Those who do not care about visual art with a message but prefer to stick to beauty and expertise: worth the detour.

Rozendal 10, a stone's throw from the Grote Markt, towards Ezelpoort. There is also a small garden, where some sculptures thrive. This exhibition can still be viewed from November 9 to 12, from 2 to 6:30 PM.


Johan Debruyne

November 9th 2023