Michel Mineur was born in Charleroi, Belgium, in 1948 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Mons. His works range across the extremes: from small format (engravings) to very large (monumental art). He is passionate about the work, the technique – you have to “live” the painting, it cannot be learned or taught like a recipe.
He deepened his career as an engraver at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade (Yugoslavia) during the winter of 1971-1972.
In a reaction against the prevailing trends of Pop Art and Op Art, his works are savage and a little iconoclastic. As an example, he engraves with a nail rather than with a chisel or a dry point.
This freedom in his art drew the attention of Christian Dotremont, the founder of Cobra, who wrote the preface for his first solo exhibition in Brussels. Michel has corresponded and worked with Christian until his death in 1979.
At the end of 1975, he changed course, opting for more blurred or opaque images, with the theme “The Peasant Condition”, considering the decline and almost disappearance of the small rural world.
Around 1976, printed material appear in his work. First of all elderly people painted on wallpaper melt into these “floral tapestries” with remnants of another time: family photos, religious pictures …
From 1978, he painted on driving maps or city maps. In order to oppose two lifestyles, he inscribes on these labyrinths of roads and highways, isolated villages, or bits of stagnant and diffuse landscapes.
In 1986, he created a 70 m2 mural painting, “Giant irises in a server room” at the National Bank of Belgium in Brussels.
Towards the end of the 80s, he went back to the human form: nudes seemingly drowned in the steam of a bathroom, glimpsed through a curtain or framed in close-up.
He is continuously diversifying the media: Chinese or Russian newspapers, electoral leaflets, or financial pages on which he paints traces of the ephemeral snow or vacationers tanning on a beach.
He has sometimes abandoned acrylic to experiment with other mediums. In 2006-2007, “Memories of the Entre-Sambre and Meuse” were painted with viscous tar. Everyday landscapes with everyday material.
The series “Canadian Rockies” (views of the Rocky Mountains) was inspired by a visit to Alberta, Canada, that was exhibited in the Namur Arts Center in 2011, with a preface by Michel Draguet.
His interest in Far Eastern painting was expressed in 2008 with the ‘Chinese ink wash’ technique where he superimposed two opposite civilizations through Walloon landscapes on Asian calligraphy.
Closer to the style of a Quattrocento lady than the American pin-up, a woman undresses, dresses, looks at herself in a mirror, or straightens her clothes painted on stock exchange or other financial media. Started ten y+ears ago, this ongoing series (“Old fashioned actions”) is in its modest way a resistance against the decline of European culture, with the global economic crisis as context.
Michel Mineur has works in the collections of the Credit Communal of Belgium (Belfius), the Belgian National Bank, the Belgian State, the House of Representatives, the French Community of Belgium, the Walloon Government, the Province of Namur, the Museums of Mons, Ixelles, Walloon Art in Liège, the Cabinets of Prints in Brussels and Paris, the Graphic Cabinet of Belgrade (Yugoslavia), the Kunsthalle in Nuremberg (Germany) and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bahia (Brazil).
Michel Mineur has participated in international, biennial and triennial exhibitions in Berlin, Grenchen, Seoul, Kanagawa, London, Newcastle, Miami, Bilbao, Paris, Cadaqués, Belgrade, Niš, Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Novi Sad, Barcelona, Patras, Strasbourg , Frederikstad, Prague, Dunkirk, Chamalières, Tokyo, Luxembourg, Sansepulcro, and Tuzla.