Selected works by Aglaé Bassens

Aglaé Bassens
The Audience


Oil on canvas

160 x 120 cm

The old rule of stage acting – never turn your back to the audience – is a way of ensuring the viewer always feels tacitly acknowledged, an implied awareness of why the events of the play are even happening. In Aglaé Bassens’ paintings, the turned, concealed or invisible face creates the opposite effect: the viewer feels shut out, with the narrative of the painting obscured and open to question. This sense of removal and distance is at the heart of Bassens’ attitude towards painting itself: sometimes “immersed in the act of painting, at other times removed from making and … looking analytically.”

Aglaé Bassens
Ink Wigs


Ink and white pencil on paper

40 x 70 cm
That the artist is both in and out of the painting is made metaphorical in her work Ink Wigs, an ink drawing of the corner of a room hung with wigs of various shades. Each wig implies a potential act of personal transformation, described in lively and energetic paint; and yet there’s an unmistakable air of being ignored, and the wigs become the heads of people passing us by. In The Audience, we see rows of glossy and conditioned women’s hairstyles facing towards a stage or screen that we can’t see; Bassens’ brush lingers on the feathery cascades of hair, but the mystery of the painting remains unsolved. The heads’ positions imitate the act of looking at the painting itself, but unlike these curiously transfixed spectators, we’re denied the exposition we crave.

Text by Ben street

Aglaé Bassens's Biography

Aglaé Bassens
Born in 1986 in Mons, Belgium
Lives and works between London and Assos, Turkey


Jerwood Drawing Prize, Jerwood Space, London
SE1 OPEN 2012, The Project Space, Bermondsey, London
The Perfect Nude, curated by Dan Coombs and Philip Allen, Wimbledon Jerwood Space,
London; Phoenix Gallery, Exeter; Charlie Smith Gallery, London.

MFA/MA Slade Degree Show 2011, The Slade School of Art, London

Interim Show, Woburn Square, Slade School of Fine Art, London
From London With Love, Wanha Woimala, Finland
Art Works Open, ArtWorks Project Space, London
All Systems Go, Departure Gallery, London
Istanbul was Constantinople, Hush Gallery, Istanbul
The Photocopy Show, 35 Wolsey Road, Facetorch 4, London

Salon 09, Matt Roberts Studio, Vyner Street, London

Open Studios, Nes Residency Studio, Skagastrond, Iceland
Get Your Tongue Out Of My Mouth (Cause I'm Kissing You Goodbye), Area 10 Project, Peckham, London

Hoxton Shuffle, Her House Gallery, London
Hoxton Shuffle, Her House Gallery, London
Ready to Eat Jumbo Shrimp, The Slade Research Centre, London