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mixed media on canvas, 95 x 108 cm

A series of paintings about silence, whether or not imposed.


The harrowing image of a mouth stitched shut: the despair of the hunger striker. Freedom of speech suppressed by dictatorship: the ‘silenced’ political prisoner.


‘Bouche cousue’ as statement, indictment, visual pamphlet.


But silence can also be pregnant, eloquent. Just think of Cicero's paradox about senators who express their opinion forcefully by keeping their mouths shut: ‘Cum tacent, clamant!’ – when they are silent, they cry out. Their silence speaks louder than words.

Silence as an exclamation mark.


Finally, ‘Bouche cousue’ as a form of speechlessness.


Alongside aphasia – the physical inability to speak anymore, due to injury or disease – there is also ‘perplexed’ speechlessness. When emotions are intense, our spoken language occasionally fails us. Anger, joy, passion, poignancy… we are at a loss for words, because our alphabet is insufficient:


we are bouche cousue.

© Guido De bruyn (translation: Stephen Smith)

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

© Wim Robberechts

torri di bagnara schilderen.JPG

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 

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