“Torsions 40F. F.X.9”
on the numbers used by the artist: ‘40F’ stands for the size (81 x 100 / 100 x 81 cm) and ‘X’ is used for the works in which a relief is formed from strings of cotton and no ‘9’ is the number of this work of art within this series.
In the X-series of ‘torsions’ or ‘twisted strings’, Leblanc explores the convergence of material, light and structure. He works completely in monochrome, with a relief of string, and plays with the ‘shadow zone’ that gives the image a different aspect every time the light exposure and direction changes. The artist uses different geometric possibilities and combines various materials, in order to explore the relationship between them and the mechanics of light and shadow.
Walter Leblanc was born in Antwerp on 26 December 1932. In 1949 he was admitted at the ‘Académie des Beaux-Arts d’Anvers’, where he stayed until 1954, enjoying lessons from Antoon Marsboom, René De Cooninck and in the evening hours he followed courses at the ‘Vakschool voor Kunstambachten’ headed by Roger Avermaete.
Meanwhile, under pressure of his father who wanted him also to have a ‘regular’ education, he also finished his publicist studies. After his time at the academy and his military service, Leblanc took on various jobs: from representative of a paint brand to the fabrication of big advertisement panels for a property broker and some television work.
In 1958 he becomes a founding member of the ‘G58 Hessenhuis’ group, a group of young Belgian artists of all kind of disciplines. It is out of experimenting with this group, that, in 1960, Leblanc introduces his technique of ‘torsion’ as a very important facet of his work. In 1961 he has his first big solo exposition at the Palais des Beaux-Art in Brussels.
In 1962 the G58 group dissolves and from that year on Leblanc starts exhibiting at international expositions organized by the influential ‘Zero’ group, of which he becomes one of the main and best-known members.
‘Zero’ originated in Düsseldorf and the Rhine land, experimenting with new forms, techniques and concepts. Zero crossed traditional boundaries and thus created new structures in art and art philosophy. Characteristic are light, movement and monochrome painting. To play with light and shadow, reliefs and other materials were introduced in the surface, making the boundary between sculpture and painting disappear.
Other important artists from the ‘Zero’ group are: Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Günther Uecker from Germany; Yves Klein, Bernard Aubertin and Arman in France; Pol Bury and Walter Leblanc in Belgium and Jan Schoonhoven and Herman de Vries in the Netherlands.
From 1977 on Walter Leblanc is appointed as teacher at the academy of architecture in Antwerp, giving courses about colours to future architects and designers. In 1986 a car accident puts an end to Leblanc’s life, depriving the world of one of it’s most influential modern artist.
collection of Nicole Leblanc, the artist’s wife.
Galleria Beniamino, San Remo Italy, 1974, ‘Walter Leblanc’, illustrated in cat.;
Kaiserslautern, Galerie WACK,1984-1990: Atelier 340, Brussels,
July 1989-April 1990, travelling exhibition: Ludwigshafen, Wilhelm Hack Museum; Bottrop, Joseph Albers Museum;
Salzburg, Museum Carolino Augusteum;
Oostende, Provinciaal Museum
Moderne Kunst (PMMK), ‘Walter Leblanc, Contribution à l histoire de Nouvelle Tendance’, cat. p. 93 with ill.
Nicole Leblanc, Danielle Everarts de Velp-Seynaeve, eds.,
‘Walter Leblanc’, catalogue raisonné, Ludion, Gent 1997, p. 228, no. 826.