Olivier Smolders & Johan van den Driessche – Pensées et visions d’une tête coupée (1991)
SYNOPSIS: The theme of death is heavily interwoven in Smolder’s surreal salute to Belgian painter Antoine Wiertz, Pensees et visions d’une tete coupee / Thoughts and Visions of a Severed Head, a Hieronymus Bosch-type artist whose work centered on humans in various stages in torment, as depicted in expansive canvases with gore galore. Smolders has basically taken a standard documentary and chopped it up, using quotes from the long-dead artist, and periodic statements by a historian (Smolders) filling in a few bits of Wiertz’ life.
The museum designed to house the painter’s work is like a great multi-roomed barn, displaying paintings as small as a counter, or as big as a three-storey building. Inside the museum, Smolders stages a tour for arriving guests: nattily dressed dwarves who accentuate the painter’s mad visions and ego that bleed from the more disturbing works dealing with suicide, infanticide, piles of baby bodies, and monsters opening up their innards while half-naked humans are torn apart by tentacled monsters…