Ep pur si Muove, 1960
oil on canvas
99 x 76 cm.
signed and dated 'Willink '60' (upper right)
Catalogue Note Christie's
After 1950 Willink calls his work Fantastic Realism. Now reality is only represented in such a way as to evoke a sense of alienation, but this sensation is intensified by the addition of realistic elements that are not in accordance with the fundamental situation. Fantasy plays a game with real elements. Unlike Surrealism, in which anxiety is visually expressed in an unhibited way, Fantastic Realism is distinctly composed.
The feeling of threat is sharply evident at the end of 1950's under the impact of the political situation. To Willink the threat of the Cold War felt similar to the fearful 1930s, resulting in his threatening skies, fires and destroyed buildings. The present lot was based upon two images found in the estate of the artist: one is a black and white postcard of the Dolomites (fig. 1), the other one a photograph of Yperen, Belgium after the bombardment of 1917. Willink would more often be inspired by photographic material for his paintings. By exploring the form relation between the two images and by merging the two a completely destroyed town in a sublime austere landscape came into being.
The title refers to Galileo Galilei who supposedly spoke this phrase when he, in 1633, was forced by the Inquisition to recant his belief that the earth moves around the sun, instead of vice versa, which was the belief those days. It was used to indicate that although publicly someone who is in a knowledgeable position may deny something, that does not stop it from being true. Here Willink can be seen as a modern Cassandra, warning for the threats of a disaster, where noone will believe him.