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An Vanderlinden

Visual Artist An Vanderlinden (Koersel (BE), 1969) was born into a mining family from the “black” Beringen – a former mining region in Belgian Limburg. She prefers black. And from coal. There is no other way. An created her own paint using coal that she selected from the conveyor belts in the abandoned Beringen mine buildings. She created a clear glossy brown paint as well as the darkest black paint that was accessible. She adds depth, light colours, gloss, and structural variations to her paintings by layering on these various coal paints and mixing them with raw coal fragments. Her paintings thus change with each different perspective. Her art bears the stamp of the past. Paradoxically, yet, her work might be understood as a permanence that sprang from the transient. After all, the coal that was abandoned on the coal mine's conveyor belts thirty years ago will have a new destiny. The shadows revealed. A bright future, akin to the light emanating from coal.

Man Moved Mountain

During May, I had the opportunity to work at Le Charbonnage Art Residencies. As you might guess if you know me well, I crossed that deadline! A month is very short, too short, especially when you need to gather materials, make your own paint, and typically spend about a month on a single painting. Given that this residency would culminate in a solo exhibition of the work I created here, I had to take a different approach.


So, what was that new approach? The Genk landscape, once loved by 19th-century landscape painters, has changed due to the coal mines and is now dearly loved by me. Before painting in Beringen, I frequently visited the Genk slag heaps to draw and paint with watercolors, purely for relaxation. These slag heaps, now beautiful nature spots, are silent witnesses to human collaboration and achievement.


Did I mention watercolors? Yes, indeed. Can you make watercolor paint from coal? Does it work on canvas? Did I spend a month on it? And did I find coal from Zwartberg? You’ll find all the answers from today at Le Charbonnage Art Residencies.


If you are interested in the full catalogue, please feel free to contact us for more information.

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