Artworks Muys & Muylaert - Biography

Herman Muys


Out of thin clay slices Herman Muys creates delicate ceramic figures. He makes scaled-down versions, normally no taller than 80 or 90 cm of human, animal as well as imaginative forms.
These figures, although often fragmented, are always represented in al its essential aspects. Sometimes pieces of torso or other body limps emerge from under or outside another, which allows us to see the thickness of its “skin”. The rough surfaces, veined by a mix of different clay types, are surrounded with refined extensions, which, as it seems are clanged to the body, as to a magnetic pole. Because the eyes are sightless, the hands, the feet and the stance take over the outward, expressive content. Thanks to an emotional determination the inward emotions are brought to a highlight. It is as if these figures have all these pent-up emotions within them and were petrified just before the finale blast.

During the sixties Herman Muys studied Monumental Art at the National High Institute of Fine Arts in Antwerp. His first successes were actually booked in a totally different field. In the late sixties he has won the National Prize for Tapestry and had a commission for ITT to make a monumental stained-glass window. It was actually Monique Muylaert, whom he met at the National Institute and later became his wife that passed on the enthusiasm for ceramics.

At first he created fairy tail-like creatures, originating from a pure imaginary world, often related to the Flemish art of Bosch or Breughel. Gradually he evolved towards more realistic figures. He tries to bring into the sculpture an immense physical energy, which it nevertheless seems unable to release. The emotions awakened in his artworks are not represented by aggressive movements, in fact al his sculptures seem to be motionless. He has found the secret to insert heroic emotions rather as a smouldering, silent awareness. Herman never intents to copy reality, worse still he deliberately deviates from it. Many of his figures are fragmented, which makes them more vulnerable. It is probably this vulnerability which strikes the spectators the most.

Herman Muys rarely talks about his work; but he creates and subjects his art consciously or driven by intuition to other people’s judgement. The spectator, willing or not is forced to express his or her own opinion. The artworks however are so strong, that the message is unmistakable. The trappings; like staffs, crosses, Archbishop’s mitres or even the wings or the moon give already some guidelines. Add to this the stance and facial expressions and we immediately understand that the arrogant display of the figures is an attempt to make us realise the importance of existence, and the way we cope with it. These figures symbolise the lack of true understanding of how this gift of life might be used to a better effect.
But Herman’s real talent is that spectators can, even besides this very strong and obvious significance, still find a very personal understanding.

Short Bibliography

Masters earthenware, major works by leading artists
curated by matthias Ostermann,2010
Lark books, New york, London, ISBN 978-1-60059-293-5

The spirit of ceramic design, cultivating creativity with clay
written by Robert Piepenburg, 2009
Pebble press, inc, ISBN 978-0-9628481-7-9

The ceramic narrative
written by Matthias Ostermann, 2006
A&C black ltd, ISBN 10-0-7136-6851-2

Herman Muys 10 x10 : 100 containers
article in ceramics technical nr.23, 2006
written by Melissa Muys

Herman Muys 10X10:100 Containers
Written by Melissa Muys, 2005
Invitation to art, Amsterdam, ISBNnr. 90-77760-02-4
A book on a 100 ceramic containers, made by Herman Muys. All based on the same principle: Boxes of 10 by 10 cm

Herman Muys werkt niet, hij is bezig
Article in Keramiek October 2005
written by Annemiek Engels

Face to face
article inceramic review June 2004
written by Roswitha Schild
Article about the Suisse exhibition Augenblicken

levende architectuur
article in Beter Wonen issue autumn - winter 2002
written by Guy Goethals
Article with pictures of the house of Herman Muys & Monique Muylaert

Ceramic Figures, a directory of artists
Written by Michael Flynn, 2002
A&C Black, London ISBNnr. 0 7136 5117 2
An alphabetical directory with a selection of the 100 most important artists working with ceramic figures in the 20th century

Figuras en el barro
Article in Con Barro, revista internacional de Artenr.4, 2001-2002, publicacion anual
written by A.J. Gil Alcaide

10 years of exhibition at RWE Brussel
written by Marcel van Jole, Jo Dustin, Albert F. Haelmeersch, 2001
RWE, Aktiëngesellschaft, Repräsentanz, Brussel, ISBNnr. 90-75463-340
Catalogue of the moving exhibition Brussels-Essen-Berlin with artworks of different artists

The Human Form in Clay
Written by Jane Waller, 2001
The Crowood Press, Wiltshire (UK) ISBNnr. 1 86126 413 5

Herman Muys, a flemish artist
article in Kerameiki Techni,international ceramic art review issue 30, 1998 written by Virgil Hammock

Kunst als nest
article in Weekend Knack issue 4,1996 written by Anna Luyten

The Art of Herman Muys and Monique Muylaert
article in ceramics Art and Perception, issue 21, 1995 written by Virgil hammock

Het atelier, de wereld van 12 Keramisten
written by Versluys&Tinck,1993
Snoeck-Ducaju, ISBNnr
Artbook about the way 12 selected ceramicist create artworks

Een geslaagde Revolutie
article in kunstbeeld, Nederlands tijdschrift voor beeldende kunst, issue 5, 1993 written by Maarten Beks

Het kleiboek
written by Luc Versluys, 1993

Herman Muys & Monique Muylaert
Written by Marcel van Jole, Jan Foncé, Virgil Hammock & berit de Beer-Sauer, 1992
Lannoo, Tielt (Belgium) ISBNnr 90 209 2138x
Artbook about both artists with a lot of pictures and text written in 4 languages (Dutch, French, English & German)

Hedendaagse keramiek in België
written by Jan Walgrave, 1992
Mardaga, Luik (Belgium) ISBNnr
Artbook about contemporary ceramics in Belgium

Monique Muylaert und Herman Muys
article in Neue Keramik , issue 4, 1990/91
written by Marecl van Jole

Keramiek in Vlaanderen
written by F. De Vogelaere, 1986
Lannoo, Tielt (Belgium)

Herman Muys & Monique Muylaert
Monography written by Marcel van Jole, 1982
Arte & Biblio Press