The paintings are remarkable not only for the unassuming, ordinary, modest subjects but for how much is actually excluded from the frame and edited out. The bottles and vases are both familiar recurring motifs and mysterious ciphers. He explores and articulates a series of relationships between them and gently plays with the formal elements of the still-life tradition, light and colour, form and space, positive and negative shapes in both a rigourous yet nonchalant way, comfortable within the confines of the genre like a classical architect innovating with but never abandoning The Orders. This highly conservative artist made still-lives that are more explicitly 'modern' in the series of paintings of 'geometrically' composed boxes and bottles that are both flat and spatial at the same time and have rhythms and repetitions that are almost musical.
Giorgio Morandi, “Still Life of Vases on a Table,” 1931, etching
The film below with English subtitles gives a great insight into Borremans' work