Skip to main content
Melancholic portrait of a comfortable solitude


Ben Gijsemans

Hubert is a middle-aged man who lives in a tiny flat in Brussels and spends his plentiful free time visiting galleries, standing in front of his favourite pictures as if before a shrine. In between, he talks to almost no one. He has lost the habit of small talk, if he ever had it in the first place. His lonely downstairs neighbour’s attempt to seduce Hubert scares him off. He prefers the girl he can see from his window, who lives in the apartment opposite. Her great virtue, of course, is that she is silent, unreachable. Their worlds will never collide, and for all his pining, for Hubert this is perhaps a relief.

One of those lovely books in which almost nothing happens and you couldn’t care less.
The Guardian

Ben Gijsemans focuses on the routine of Hubert’s life. ‘Hubert’’s emotional and visual economy is extraordinary. Gijsemans’ drawings, washed out but somehow lush, too, are tender and telling, from the doleful curve of Hubert’s back to the workaday treads of the stairs in his apartment building. In this gentle account, Hubert is neither noble aesthete nor creepy loner, simply a man who likes pottering around looking at art.

Gijsemans can shout if he wants to, but he's more than happy to whisper.
The Herald Scotland