Johan Tahon – Van Gogh • Preacher

March 26 to August 6, 2023

The Flemish artist Johan Tahon (1965) is working on a new monument for Van Gogh. The reason is a long hike that Vincent undertook in early August 1879 from Cuesmes in the Borinage to Sint-Maria-Horebeke in the Flemish Ardennes to consult the minister-painter Abraham van der Waeyen Pieterszen. His ambition to become a minister had gone wrong and he sought advice about his future. It is known that he eventually chose to continue as an artist. Not by preaching, but by his art, he wanted to comfort the people from now on. This fact prompted the sculptor Johan Tahon to organize an extensive cultural project in the Flemish Ardennes, where he has a studio in the municipality where Vincent went. The Van GoghHuis is a partner in this project.

In November 2022, Tahon completed the design for his Van Gogh monument in the guest studio of the Van GoghHuis. For the sculpture he was inspired by Vincent’s faith. It is inspired by a painting by Van Gogh after the Pietà by Eugene Delacroix. The figure of Christ in this painting somewhat resembles a self-portrait because of the red hair. The shape of the sculpture also refers to Ary Scheffer’s Christ Consolator, a print of which Vincent had hanging on his wall. The message of connection is reinforced by the fact that the image is also intended to be placed. This way, children can sit on Vincent’s lap.

In addition to the model of the Van Gogh monument, various studies by Tahon after Van Gogh and related sculptures from the artist’s collection are on display. The museum also screens the documentary Sign of the Times: Mensch (EO 2019, director: Wilberry Jacobs) about the spirituality in Tahon’s work.

[Photo: Brecht Van Maele]