ARCHIVE TAPIACO (untill 2018)

About Tapiaco's Language of Shapes

Tapiaco's language of shapes is about a central theme which is described by himself as a 'Rounded Square' and / or 'Square Circle'. Although it is difficult to resist the temptation to make some association with the problematic nature regarding the quadrature of the circle or with geometry in general, he clearly distances himself from this point of view. Even during his 'classical' education, elements from his surroundings and from nature were already simplified and abstracted. So, through the years a visual language developed in which the former described shape would gradually hold a central position and start leading its own life within the author's oeuvre.

The psychic automatism, as it was experienced by Tapiaco for some time, should more and more make way for a more rational approach in which the particular shape was enriched with a symbolic dimension and would become a catalyst in series with divergent themes : Pêle-mêles, Bottle Labels, hanging canvas in diverse combinations and colours like 'Black, white and grey' or 'Yellow, blue and red' or also 'Without colour' and 'Gold and Silver'. For the series 'Signatures', his signature, in the meantime restyled to the shape in question, became a central subject of an exposition. With 'pizza crackers' he created a series in which he enlarged the salted cookies with oil paint on canvas to a size of a square metre. Under the title 'Between above- and underground' he paid a tribute to the mining area in Limburg where he spent his youth. For this, various materials and techniques were used such as acrylic paint, fused glass, assemblages with pallets and other materials. More recently, he came out with painted collages such as 'Square metres on polystyrene' and with the title 'Das Kapital', he exposed the financial world initially by means of the Monopoly game with all its attributes and furthermore by similar projects with scratch off lottery tickets of the National Lottery as basic material. With 'Spielereien', other games of chance up to party games are a logical consequence of the subjects mentioned before. On the occasion of 50 years Expo '58, he also created a number of artworks using different techniques and by means of picture postcards, souvenirs and photographs.

The named 'Rounded Square' is applied in diverse ways : as an autonomous object, either painted or not, as an additional element to a collage or another image, as a frame of a subject or even by way of its 'reinforcement'. The uncomplicated shape which was and is still being used in quite some other cultures worldwide on every moment in history, often symbolizes, in this context too, an idea or a message or appears to be the result of a purely aesthetic experience. It contrasts sharply with geometrical shapes such as square and circle because instruments like compassses, square or rule are needed in order to draw these while the circumscribing movement making the contour of the shape in question can be drawn by everyone, young or old without any exception. Its incontestible universal character through all times made Tapiaco interpret it consequently as an authentic symbol of human ability to express oneself and its power of expression.

Therefore, a philosophical approach arises because the 'Rounded Square' in a systematic comparison with mathematical perfection is falling short in its unique coincidence, revealing at the same time its limits and failings. For that reason, there is no inferiority involved in this context even if it is a result of imperfection or emotion and definitely not after cause and consequence as occurring in nature and cosmos, whether in a short period of time or as a consequence of a long-term process. Taking all in consideration, this creates a tension between polarities actually demonstrating the ambivalence of all existence. Though he rejects the mathematical approach of the issue, also his fascination for the duality between square and circle like we can also observe them in nature or physics, started growing.

Exhibitions (a)

Individual exhibitions

  • 1964: August Cuppensbibliotheek (Library August Cuppens), Beringen (B) (Applied arts);
  • 1967: "Le Soutien aux Jeunes Peintres"(Support to Young Painters), Brussels (B);
  • 1968: Euro-Artes, Airport Deurne, Antwerp (B);
  • 1969: Klub 17-november University, Prague;
  • 1969: "Akademie Vutvarnich Umeni" (Academy of Fine Arts), Prague;
  • 1977: Gallery Hendrik De Braeckeleer, Antwerp (B);
  • 1977: Gallery Stijn, Hoboken (B);
  • 1977: Gallery Acantus, Hasselt (B);
  • 1984: Gallery Casino, Beringen (B) (Provincial Cultural Centre Limburg);
  • 1985: DCT (Direct Contact Telemarketing), Antwerp (B);
  • 1985: De Petrel, Heusden-Zolder (B);
  • 1986: Retrospectrum (In own space), Coquilhatstraat Antwerp (B);
  • 1987: Il Ventuno (About Rounded Squares and Square Circles), Hasselt (B);
  • 1987: "CC Buurthuis", Heppen (Leopoldsburg) (B);
  • 1987: University Hospital VUB, Jette, Brussels (B);
  • 1988: Gallery Alexandra Monett, Bosvoorde, Brussels (B);
  • 1988: National Cultural Centre of the Friends of Czechoslovakia, Brussels (B) (From Czechoslovakia with love);
  • 1989: Gallery Fronta, Prague (Kvadrat Kruhu);
  • 1989: Gallery Magenta, Kalmthout (B) (Signatures);
  • 1990: Escher Kunstgalerie, Esch sur Alzette (Luxemburg) ;
  • 1991: Gallery Casino, Beringen (B) (Provincial Cultural Centre Limburg);
  • 1999: "De Open Poort Ateliers" (The open gate studios), Borgerhout (B);
  • 2000: Passage 13, Hasselt (B) (Between above- and underground);
  • 2009: Gallery Stilte-Kunst (Gallery Silence-Art), Antwerp (B);
  • 2012: Architecture & Building Foundation (A.B.F.), Prague, (Back to the Future);
  • 2013: Griffier, Borgerhout, Antwerp (B) (Targets & Ties);
  • 2013: VOC De Geus, Harelbeke (B);
  • 2014: Orangerie, Kasteel Sorghvliedt, Hoboken (B) (Targets & Ties);
  • 2016: Bistro "Den Bell", Antwerp (With Love from Bohemia);
  • 2016: "Washboard", Art & Jazzcafé (Back to the Future);

Other applications

This fascination leads to objects such as the experiment with a liquid, poured on a plastic foil, stretched firmly on a square construction, pressing down the foil because of the gravity and trying to fill up the recipient to the corners, finally not succeeding and becoming a 'Rounded Square'. Or furthermore, by way of paying hommage to Marcel Duchamp, he refers to his ready-made 'Fresh Window' through a window-frame , divided into 8 window-panes , to freeze and to unfreeze by means of a ventilator. This process leads to the known result because only the central part of the windows will unfreeze or evaporate while the corners remain untouched. 

For the artistic project Artival in Ostend (2000) Tapiaco created a construction of one cubic metre in which a picture of 'Ostende Roads' on a transparant film pressed between two sheets of glass was shown. Below that, a plastic transparant foil in which yellow-coloured water was poured, with the former described result, was hanged up. At the bottom, within the construction, a halogen lamp of which the beam of light was directed upwards, was placed. Because of the high temperature of the halogen lamp the water evaporated in the recipient and condensed against the bottom of the glass sandwich panel resulting in heavy drops which became one again with the water surface. The title 'Ostend between rain and sunshine' was actually rather obvious.

In 2001 he focuses his attention on the 1st year of the 21st century, also a modest reference to Stanley Kubrick's '2001 a space odyssey'. As from January 1st until December 31st, he conceives every day a small work referring to this particular day without emphasizing topical matters of the passed twenty-four hours and limited to a simple reference to the moment by tearing off a date of some print on which the author puts his signature in the known shape, actually confirming the irrevocability of what happened that day to which the spectator in the end can add the contents himself.

For a new police office in Antwerp, he presented a project to etch fingerprints of criminals, combined with those of dignitaries, in glass in order to put them in floors, on walls and/or to hang them up in space. It goes without saying that these fingerprints express the author's language of shapes as well. Years before he made his own thumb-print in blue, red and yellow referring to the C.I.A., K.G.B. and Opus Dei.


Group exhibitions 

  • 1965/66: "Scheppende Handen" (KJM) (Creative hands) in Nieuwpoort (B), Poperinge (B), Roeselare (B), Aalst (B), Turnhout (B), Sint-Truiden(B) en Neerpelt (B);
  • 1966: Belgian Hall, Delhi (Canada);
  • 1967: Geluwe (KK-64);
  • 1968: BP-Building, Antwerp (B) (KK-64);
  • 1968: "Vleeshuis" Lier, (International Expo);
  • 1969: Gallery "Brittanique", Ieper (B) (New Com: one exposition);
  • 1969: Open air exhibition, Crikvenica (Yougoslavia);
  • 1969: Exhibition room, Menen (B) (New Com 2 / Internationale 69 Geluwe);
  • 1970: "De Tombe", Wilrijk (B) (KK-64);
  • 1971: First art market, Dageraadplaats, Zurenborg, Antwerp (B);
  • 1971: "Zaal IPPA", Antwerp (B), (the young Flemish Painters, Lions Club);
  • 1972: "AN-HYP Art Center", Brussels (B) (Democratic Patronage);
  • 1972: "Bijenkorf"; Eindhoven (NL), selection from 'the young Flemish Painters';
  • 1973: "Paleis voor Schone Kunsten" (Centre for Fine Arts), Brussels (B), ("Jeune Peinture Belge");
  • 1973: Gallery for art rental, St. Lambrechts Woluwe (B), (Passage 44);
  • 1974: Het Cooremetershuys, Gent (B) (Selection from the winners of the 'Jeune Peinture Belge');
  • 1976: Urban Museum, Ostend (B) (European prize voor Painting Art);
  • 1976: Artworks acquired by the government, Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp (B);
  • 1976: Artworks acquired by the government, Museum of Fine Arts, Doornik (B)
  • 1977: Gallery Campo, Antwerp (B) (Groep 71);
  • 1978: Brussels (B) and Knokke (B), Second Biennial of the Flemish Art;
  • 1980: Rubens' centre Antwerp (B), (Flanders' 1st Art Market);
  • 1984: City2, Brussels (B) (Artists' jewelry & clothing);
  • 1985: AEA (Art Exposition Animation), Brussels (B), (Vu et vécu de New-York par des artistes de chez nous) - (Jumelage 5th. Avenue de New-York / Avenue Louise);
  • 1986: Group exposition, Il Ventuno, Hasselt (B) ;
  • 1986: Art Gallery “De Graal”, Stadspark, Dendermonde (B) (Sculptural International);
  • 1986: “Antichambre”, Gent (B);
  • 1987: Twenty-one at Il Ventuno, Hasselt (B);
  • 1987: "De rode draad", De Vooruit, Gent (B);
  • 1987: Lineart, Gent (B);
  • 1988: Twenty-one and 21 at Il Ventuno, Hasselt (B);
  • 1988: Fabrik 88, Antwerp (B) (The Big Transformation);
  • 1988: Garden scenes '88, Kapellen / Kalmthout (B);
  • 1988: Gambrinus, Antwerp (B) (Benefit-Expo for group 'Vandaag');
  • 1988: Kasteel van Schoten (Second Autumn Exhibition on account of 5 years GIERIK);
  • 1989: Twenty-one at Il Ventuno (Open air), Hasselt (B);
  • 1989: 'Kiezen voor Kunst' ('Choosing for Art'), Buurthuis, Heppen (Leopoldsburg) (B);
  • 1988: 1990 "Le Cadavre Repris": Het Bassin, Maastricht (NL), BWA, Krakow (Pl), Uherske Hradiste (CS), Nice (Fr.), Kiev (USSR), Zaragoza (ESP), Medellin (Colombia);
  • 1988: '78 Artists, Contemporary Figurative Artists', CC "De Kom", CC "De Hanekap", CC "Het Zand", Lommel (B);
  • 1992: Il Ventuno, Hasselt (B) (Twenty One);
  • 1992: 'For Sale', Gallery Christ Delaet, Antwerp (B);
  • 1992: Monnikenheide, Zoersel (B) (Het Lelijke Eendje or The Ugly Duckling);
  • 1992: Il Ventuno, Hasselt (B) (Twenty one and 21);
  • 1993: Stadsschouwburg, Antwerp (B) (Le Cadavre Repris), Antwerp European Capital of Culture;
  • 1993: Town-hall Merksem (B), Graphics from Flanders, Czechia and Slovakia, Antwerp European Capital of Culture;
  • 1994: Centre Elzenveld, Antwerp (B) (Het lelijke Eendje or The Ugly Duckling);
  • 1997: Lichtenstein Palace, Prague (UNESCO Pontes Festival of music and arts);
  • 1998: Group exposition, Town-hall Borgerhout;
  • 2000: ARTIVAL, Ostend (B) open air, (Postcards from Ostend);
  • 2010: MDA, C-Mine, Genk (B), (Cumulus Wunderkammer);
  • 2012: Manifesta, Genk (B);
  • 2013: Arte Ventuno, Open air hommage Wout Vercammen 75 years;
  • 2015: Manoir du Chagnot (Fr), (At Vauban's House, Cloudnitters);
  • 2015: Groepstentoonstelling "Privé", Lebbeke;
  • 2015: Kunstparcours Wilrijk, (Over de Brug) 't Spant;
  • 2016: De Keten, Antwerp;
  • 2016: OC De Buiting (Paal/Beringen) (Art Traject);
  • 2016: Beurs/MUHKA, Cloud Force One & Mail Art Project "Let Sky the Limit" (10 year Cloudknitters);

Recent realisations

A new theme related to previous realizations is the creation of collages based on old documents or printed matters of all kinds provided with the shape in question by way of 'reinforcement'. (to be continued)

During a trip to Turkey, more specifically to the area of Cappadocië, he was confronted with natural shapes in the specific landscape there which remind of the Rounded Square, but also with caves, aboveground and underground, made by humans, which take a similar shape.

Both confrontations not only emphasize his reference to its universal character in nature but also to the shape as a result of human activity.

They appeared to be an abundantly clear and visually grateful fact which motivated the artist to bring about a new series of creations, completing the image, on a digitally printed background , with an extra pictural aspect.

A confrontation with previous realizations from the beginning period and this recent series reveals the analogy with the specific shape, on the one hand originated from pure creative power and on the other hand a reflection of the mentioned existing structures , partly as a result of geological forces, partly as a consequence of human activity going back to the Paleolithical Era and the following cultures.
For that reason, the suitable title 'Back to the future' was given to this series.

Under the title 'TARGETS & TIES', he realizes the first artworks of a new series referring at the so-called populism, a term which is being used in and out of season for quite some time by the media, the politicians, the financial world and diverse authorities.
With fictitious heads provided with a real tie and a transparant target TAPIACO aims almost in the literal and figurative sense at individuals and institutions restricting and/or ruining other people's lifes by carrying out the duties of their office or by their position in society.
These are metaphors for abuse of power and disapproving behavior towards subordinates and the weak members in society. However, TAPIACO does not aim only at the establishment but also at daily life figures who, despite the environment involved, influence and complicate all one's actions in a negative way.

In a critical but ludic way, TAPIACO takes advantage of the recent and contemporary international socio-political and financial climate in which democratic achievements seem to be more and more under pressure.

As he has already proved before, once again TAPIACO gives evidence of social criticism without denying his language of shapes.

Exhibitions (c)

Temporarily permanent expositions 

  • 1966-68: Kasteel van Ordingen, St. Truiden (B);
  • 1969- ...:"Kunst in Huis" (Art in the House)
  • 1972-76: Theatre café 't Natiepeerd, Antwerp (B);
  • 1975-76: Model appartment, Habitimbuilding, Left Bank Antwerp (B);
  • 1976-79: Berchem's accountant office, Antwerp (B);
  • 2008-11: Gallery Stilte (Gallery Silence), Antwerp (B).
  • 2015: Manoir du Chagnot (Fr), (At Vauban's House, Cloudnitters);

Photo-Gallery (project by project)






Imaginary Landscapes



Round Squares



Bottle Labels






Gold & Silver



Pizza Crackers






Expo 1958



Das Kapital



Glas & 3D


Back to the Future


Neckties & Targets


Kitsch & Camp (paintings)


Kitsch & Camp (puzzles)




Street Covers


Caravan Serail