Day in the Life: Michaël Borremans

At a château-turned-studio in Belgium, Annick Weber meets the enigmatic artist whose twisted imagination is revitalizing figurative painting.

“Having a plan is dangerous. It produces these uptight results.”

“Can you believe this used to be a car park?” Michaël Borremans asks, looking out onto the vast expanse of greenery unfolding before him. It’s hard to picture the daisy-dotted back garden of the painter’s countryside studio covered in a blanket of concrete. And yet, such was the case nine years ago, when Borremans bought the 19th-century property—formerly a baron’s hunting château—as a rural alternative to his primary studio in Ghent. Today, the site is a tableau of serenity. Ancient trees tower in the distance, and horses graze around them. “A lot of the trees are in their last phase, so I planted some new ones,” Borremans says, pointing to a row of young saplings across the lawn. “You have to make sure that future generations have their trees too.”

One of the m...

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