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Iconostasis by Gianluca Cosci and Sébastien Forthomme

Extended until 27/04/2024: visits by appointment only Queens Brussels is delighted to announce the prolongation of the exhibition Iconostasis featuring Gianluca Cosci and Sébastien Forthomme.

Iconostasis by Gianluca Cosci and Sébastien Forthomme
Iconostasis by Gianluca Cosci and Sébastien Forthomme

Time & Location

01 Mar 2024, 14:00 – 27 Apr 2024, 18:00

Queens Brussels, Av. de la Reine 266, 1020 Bruxelles, Belgium

About the Event

Extended until 27/04/2024: visits by appointment only (

Queens Brussels is delighted to announce the prolongation of the exhibition Iconostasis featuring a duo of visual artists, Gianluca Cosci and Sébastien Forthomme. The exhibition presents a selection of their most recent works, highlighting both the affinities and disparities of the artists’ individual practices. The exhibition is designed as a dialogue between two unique artistic personalities, presenting an enriching visual exchange.

“​​Perhaps the Doors, Curtains, Surface Pictures, Panes of Glass, etc. are metaphors of despair, prompted by the dilemma that our sense of sight causes us to apprehend things, but at the same time restricts and partially precludes our apprehension of reality.” (Gerhard Richter)

The title, Iconostasis, refers to the Eastern Christian tradition in Byzantine churches of a solid screen of stone, wood, or metal, usually separating the sanctuary from the nave. The iconostasis had originally been some sort of simple partition between the altar and the congregation. It then became a row of columns, and the spaces between them were eventually filled with icons.

Quite surprisingly we do not find any other reference to Christianity or faith in general in this exhibition. The silent power conveyed by the artworks evokes a feeling of being mesmerized each in its own individual manner,  reminiscent of Colour Field paintings. Through their elegiac tones, the artworks draw viewers into their own sphere, inviting closer encounters with their physicality which become both a boundary and a contact point between immanence and the sublime. In that respect the artists’ creations function as a sort of laic iconostases that project us into introspective and existential meditations.

In his practice Gianluca Cosci investigates the different interpretations of iconoclasm concerning the concept of visual obliteration using existing artworks as palimpsests and creating new pieces through painting and photography. In his work the artist examines the auratic potency of images when subjected to iconoclastic interventions. Cosci’s eclectic oeuvre converges towards the dichotomy between the visible and invisible, perception and imagination. In his investigations the artist aims to convey the concept of 'hidden' by partially veiling images and denying visions. Ultimately, Gianluca Cosci examines the enigma of images and how their allure can be amplified when they are concealed or erased: visual negation can eventually serve as a means for the viewer to adhere to the Duchampian principle of actively engaging in the interpretation and finalisation of the artwork, as the crucial and supreme contribution to the artistic experience.

In the photographic works of Sébastien Forthomme exists a comparable sensibility towards the negation of the visible in the form of abstract compositions and blurred images. His photographs suggest mystical dimensions through an aesthetic quest that start from the visible only to ascend towards a mesmerising inner voyage made of sinuous shapes and sensuous colours. Forthomme’s practice can be identified with a journey towards the absolute that could indeed have affinities to that material separation made of icons that prevents optical vision in favour of another, more transcendent one. ‘It is not doubt but certainty that drives us mad', said Nietzsche. Our society is a knowledge society based on scientific laws dating back to Galileo. Anything that escapes these formalised laws is beyond our horizon. The artist attempts to set this knowledge aside and invoke a more fundamental and innate perception.


Gianluca Cosci (1970, Italy) completed a BA in painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna. Between 1999 and 2011 he lived and worked in London where he obtained Master degrees in fine art at Chelsea College of Art and in art and design at the Institute of Education, University of London. In 2011 he moved to Brussels where he currently lives and works. He is expected to defend his Ph.D. in the arts at LUCA School of Art/KU Leuven University in December 2023 titled “The Denied Image: Art Interventions Between Iconoclasm and Institutional Critique”.

Sébastien Forthomme (1976, Belgium) studied at the Agnès Varda School of Photography in Brussels. He was a photographer for the Opéra Royal de la Monnaie between 2008 and 2015. He then embarked on an artistic research and exhibited in Brussels and Amsterdam, among other places. His work expresses his research into doubt, the limits of perception and knowledge, and the human-nature 'continuum'.

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