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Chapter 8

Little Red Rooster

Louise Delanghe 


4 March 2022
‘I [am the] little red rooster
Too lazy to crow for day
Keep everything in the barnyard
Upset in every way…’ 
    The Rolling Stones – Little Red Rooster (1964)
Impetuous animal of down often venerated as a symbolic figure, protective spirit between two worlds …. Many myths and su-perstitions were attributed to this red cockerel bird, from Celtic to the Romans, from Paganism to Christianity, from East to West, this animal was considered as symbol of Light against evil. Waking us from our petrified sleep and fighting the bad spirits for the day to start! [In Japanese myth, a rooster crows the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu out of her dark cave, when life on earth is threatened by her absence.]*

A motif that entered Delanghe’s paintings, working with indifferently digital collection of fan pages and digging into Dutch genre paintings of 17th century*, she collected avidly crops and illustration of this gallinacean protagonist until they started to form a consistent recomposed family. In Flanders, where fighting roosters and breading contests are consider a national sport, this choice hardens the folkloric wonder of her work . Previously, in Velux Check-Mates show*, this subject is even more present, there she portrayed in a chivalry aesthetic farmers or peasants in a strange constructivist style combining really abstract flat surfaces and rich figurative deepness in the paint. Collapsing Modulor’s like figures and constructivists geometric shapes, these medieval figures depictions are some-how fresh and contemporary. Living for a decade in the countryside and in Oostende, the vernacular cultural history of Flan-ders is used in bright colours. Her work typically swings from anachronic folkloric quotes to auto biographical themes with a strong graphical composition. As she mention, her work tries to: ‘revive a forgotten painting genre by giving it a fresh current answer’ Delanghe’s work is questioning ‘contemporality’ , working with transpositions and parallels, a concept that Giorgio Agamben describe in “What Is the Contemporary?” : contemporary ideas are like a beast with a head turned towards the fu-ture, a body inhabiting the present and a tail reaching forgotten ideas in the past . This chivalry world she is describing resonates today as a critique of modern society.
As you encounter the Rooster paintings something direct appears: the figurative work in oil is done in a academic manner con-trasting with tilted and tore down parts in lacquer. Those spaces are remerging, underlying their collage aesthetic and giving the painting a rhythm. The treatment of details is subtle and the mix between lacquer and oil force what was painted to float.

As you go through this series something more cruel appears. The Roosters that were first laying and parading, dancing, surrounded by sol notes make their inaudible crowing heard, they start to perform and fight as if they embodied anthropomorphic poses. This aggressive and lusty bird is perhaps mocking masculinity traits and our confronting social construction. At a tragic moment in a early geopolitical conflict , this blue boxer-ring of fighters maybe depict a grotesque satire of human behaviour and contradictions.

*An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols, Cooper, J. C. , Thames & Hudson,1979
*like for instance: Aelbert Cuyp, Jan van Oolen, Melchior d’hondecoeter, Frans Snyders, Jan Fijt, Cornelis Lelienbergh, Gabriel Metsu

Text by Jérôme Nicod



Louise Delanghe

“The vigorous peasant dancer, following an instinctive knowledge of the weight of fall, uses his surplus energy to press all his strength into the proper beat of the bar, thus intensifying his personal enjoyment in dancing.” Paul Nettl on the Birth of the Waltz, could function as a proper description of Louise Delanghe’s layered, historically referencing but prompt paintings. Her every gesture and moment of decision so present in the pieces; you feel the elbow sway, the brush pull. The painter balances a visual limbo using layers, and re-composed figures seem to abstract their own stories.
    Text by Céline Mathieu

Not if you develop gills in the next five minutes
On the paintings of Louise Delanghe (text by Céline Mathieu)

You see the angle of the foot the humbleness of the horse the vibrance bursting at the image. Her layers of beginning again will explain the place of position — always lightness and weight, lightness and weight. Paint closes in on figures opening up on the sides breathing through gills in their costumes. The blacks surrounding the greens compassing, full bleed with rounded edges and women in power in times of Orwell is it and shoes of a troubadour and clouds, complication and toes my God hands so thoroughly painted. I remember the air of the oil paint mixing with the open window’s sea salt coming in and our smoking breaths on the figures you painted — the hands we said and kept still bending to keep them at eye height. Long legs placards for your entertainment but this is more like the crust of the roasted meat the thick syrup in overheated plums— and then always the image decoded the movement a reference painted by numbers.

Louise Delanghe mentions typing in, for example ‘Cowgirls in the heat of the battle’ on Google. Her paintings often build up from today’s relation to images, and irrevocably the internet’s effortless way of bringing together a snail, a parrot and a word like ‘Schnellspannmutter’ in a few cm2.
For these ‘Check-Mates’, her search engines read Russian depictions and board games. Painted in lacquer thick and shiny feels more than a sheer finish. Her UNO-like colour scheme, like a remedy to dullness, fires up a colourful brigade.

Spending the winter of 2020 in Ostend resurfaced memories of being a little girl visiting the vibrant though tacky folklore dance demonstrations in Koksijde. She was shaken by the way different cultures’ costumes and postures represent an attitude towards life at large. Seemingly random, these memories popped up, and colourful figures in costumes came to merge and embody image searches — with Russian figure painting; to end up in Velux Check-Mates.

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