Ellen De Meutter creates a body of work with an autobiographical orientation without indulgence in complacent self-absorption. Many of her works are loosely based on memories of her childhood. The inscriptions in her recent paintings speak volumes regarding that theme: ‘Growing up’, ‘Learning from life’, and ‘Getting over yourself’. De Meutter does not use any existing material such as contemporary photographs: she constructs mental images from memory.Though her works can be regarded as growing pains converted into paint, the tone of her work is remarkably light-footed. With consent, she refers to the Italian writer Italo Calvino, who proposed that the weight of life and the reality that surrounds us, is given depth when we hold up a mirror of lightness for her – not by looking her directly in the eye. The images De Meutter constructs are disordering, drawn in sketchy, almost cartoon-like gestures. With the aid of her own pictograms or emblems she is mapping her memories, developing a personally charged iconography while suggesting stories. Her paintings do not show complete stories; they should be considered more of a storyboard.