Artworks Muys & Muylaert - Biography

Monique Muylaert


Monique Muylaert creates refined ceramic relieves, exposing a whole world of forms and movements. With thin clay layers and fragile porcelain strips, height- and depth-contrast are created in an undulating motion, which transforms the flat relief into a three-dimensional whole. In the wet clay slices she carves beautiful stories, sometimes figurative, other times abstract, brightened up with refreshing colours. She often starts from an abstract idea which gradually evolves towards new visions. The complexity of a labyrinth or the colour shades in a landscape might be a new impulse for creativity. Simple, every day objects are studied, reflected upon and recreated. These artworks show us the results of an immense and constant creativity, which never seems to decrease.

During the sixties Monique Muylaert studied monumental arts at the National High Institute in Antwerp where she first got introduced to clay, and although she never had a real ceramicist-education ceramics controlled her life from that moment on. It is probably her lack of scientific knowledge, and due or thanks to that the endless experiments and results, that intrigued her at first. Now, more than forty years, and a lot of experience later the excitement of opening the kiln still remains. The ceramics, even though she stayed loyal to the relief, have evolved tremendously.

Looking back at her oeuvre, traces of her initial education, which existed substantially out of graphic work, is still recognizable, although much more stylised today.
Starting from two-dimensionality she reaches out to space without actually joining the three dimensional. But just as much she creates counterbalances that are only possible thanks to the plasticity of clay. With cut-out clay forms, flimsy, fragile clay strips, undulating layers and height and depth contrasts she realises balanced compositions laced together with beautiful carved motives.

When in the beginning her artworks were very narrative, illustrated in dark colours brightened with gold or silver lustre’s, they have gradually evolved towards more abstract interpretations. The baroque approach from before is replaced by a stylised use of symbols and a brighter, smoother colour palette. Monique Muylaert works from a world of emotions in which everything that is intuitive plays an important part. But beside these intentional motives, she is always searching for internal tensions in form and content. Sometimes she realises confrontations between different natural elements, for example the hardness of clay in contrast to the softness of downs; or more recent the contrast between electric fired – and wood fired “smoked” ceramics. But even without using different materials, the clay itself gives enough possibilities to achieve again and again impressive compositions.

Her whole oeuvre should be conceived as a playful exploration of possibilities; it is her way of conveying the enthusiasm she experiences, which makes these artworks so attractive.

Short Bibliography

the spirit of ceramic design, cultivating creativity with clay
written by Robert Piepenburg, 2009
Pebble Press Inc, Michigan, ISBN 978-0-9628481-7-9

art at the airport
written by M. van Jole, Theo Claes, Ernest van Buynder,Wim Toebosch, 2004
BIAC, Belgium, ISBN 90-75463-34-0
renewed catalogue with pictures of all artworks present at the airport of Zaventem

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

Art at the airport
written by Marcel van Jole,Theo Claes,Yonah Zimmerman,Ernest van Buynder, 2002
BIAC, Belgium, ISBN 90-75463-34-0
catalogue with pictures of all the artworks present at the airport

Monique Muylaert, The poetry of contrasts
article in Kerameiki techni, international ceramic art review, issue 36,2000,
written by Melissa Muys

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 artists create their artworks

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)

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

Monique Muylaert cover of the international magazine Reves, 1989