Since Guy Schraenen has passed away, almost two weeks ago, i have been looking for words to write as a tribute.
As he was one of my closest friends' father, chosing words does not come as easy as when a different sort of musical or artist hero passes away, there's been too many examples lately, sadly.
Guy Schraenen's archive, books, records, and activity as a gallerist and currator were and will forever remain a huge influence in a international network of freaks, artists, archivists, collectors, and friends. In one way a very small niche of caracters that collect artist ephemera, and expecially artist records, and in a different way anyone interested in art and artists were touched by Schraenen's activity. The book 'Vinyl Records And Covers By Artists' for example, is a book that looked and felt great, that pol and klein pirreke could have been into as basicly every known world famous artist is in there, from Warhol over Richard Hamilton to Raymond Pettobon etc. On the other hand, this book functioned like a contemporary version of the bible, or "Broken Music". The book certainly functioned like that to me, pre-discogs, very eager to find out what all this is about, to discover Guy's own maniac publications, like the fantastic Axe magazine, or the Francois Dufrene cassettes, and to keep digging deeper and deeper. Folks interested in this matter have always made lists, catalogs, zines etc, to spread the word, a very generous gesture, to find like minded souls around the planet, as "we" are not that big a group. The energy Schraenen has put in this life long work of spreading the word is something i deeply admire, and something that i often miss with collectors of strange music of my own generation. Spreading the word on weird artists, books and records is what keeps it going.
Guy Schraenen's generosity was not only spread through the books he made on artists such as Ulises Carrion, Henri Chopin, etc, he also ran one of the earliest Belgian avant garde gallery's (Galerie Kontakt), organised experimental- and artist music festivals, ran a archive of artist publications in a space in the centre of Antwerp and did a radioshow at Radio Centraal.
As my dear friend and his son, Stephane put it: 'I expected him to pass away deep in his 90's on a ladder, during the building up of some exhibition but not in a ridiculous accident at home, out of nowhere'.
All strenght and love to Guy's partner, his children and his friends and other family members.