mixed media on canvas, 95 x 108 cm


Bouche Cousue @ the loft of Jo en Bea Crepain, Antwerp (B)

© Wim Robberechts

‘Bouche cousue’ by George De Decker is a series of paintings depicturing the paradox of present times: how could silence speak through the heartburn data flow that is overwhelming us every day?

Who is holding a finger to the lips, against all twitter reflex?

‘Bouche cousue’ conducts an inquiry into the visual many-sidedness of this self-chosen taciturnity,

without picking a political/philosophical side:

‘Bouche cousue’ as a statement.


“CUM TACENT CLAMENT”, or: “by shutting up they shout”.

The harrowing image of the hunger striker’s sewn mouth or the by dictatorship suppressed (silenced) free speech.

Taciturnity as intensified talking. Silence as speeches squared.

Silence as an exclamation mark.

‘Bouche cousue’ as a wink.

The playful, obvious andsilent signal “hush!”

because we want to share a secret, a complicit, a literally unspoken entente.

Body language, sign language is language without detour:

We show to the other what we say.

Or what we don’t wanna say (a picture says more than a thousand words).


‘Bouche cousue’ as a shape of speechlessness.

Opposed to the ‘aphasia universalis’ - the medical not able to talk -

the ‘perplexed’ speechlessness stands out. Spoken language fails due to intense emotions.

Aesthetic poignancy shuts the mouth up (there is nothing to add to a beautiful piece of music, silence isn’t called a ‘sacred’ silence by chance).

We are speechless because the alphabet is insufficient.

We are bouche cousue.


© Guido De Bruyn

translation Geert Callaert 

Bouche Cousue :  Bologna

ink on paper 26 x 28 cm

music  : George De Decker

Harpsichord, string quartet, voice & vocals  (1993)

Harpsichord: Elisabeth Chojnacka

Ensor String Quartet

Vocal: Sylvia Broeckaert

Vocal: Johan Van Keirsbilck

Voice: Lawrence Weiner


Scenario & text: Stefaan Decostere

Recorded in studios 4 & 6 of BRTN, Flageyplein, Brussels (B)

Production: Boudewijn Buckinx for Radio 3