- Wim Legrand
“The cultural work done in the past by gods and epic sagas is now done by laundry-detergent commercials and comic-strip characters.”
― Roland Barthes, Mythologies
In Brouhaha, Wim Legrand offers a playful take on the paradoxical strangeness of everyday reality. Commonplace, mundane and forgettable objects – sponges, cheeses, cookies – usher the familiar into fabulistic scenes, staging narratives that are fragmented and scattered across the pictorial plane.
These peculiar fables blur past with present, interiors with landscapes, pop culture with artistic tradition, and fact with fiction – setting scenes in the unfettered “now” of a dream, meanings just out of reach and continually open to interpretation. Legrand’s eclectic visual language draws on references as diverse as Northern European history painting and cartoons, with his sparse backgrounds and isolated characters recalling Surrealist imagery.
In a broad sense, his characters appear as “victims”; flattened, skewered or deserted by an overabundance of information, commercials, social media, nonsense. In this way, Legrand comments on our postmodern condition: We are victims of the brouhaha– the “overexcited response to a minor incident” – distracted and even debilitated by the constant news stories, twitter feeds and fashion buzz, to the point that we are blind to the wonderful peculiarity of the everyday.
Legrand’s everyday allegories are deceptively humorous and innocent; one cannot help but sense turmoil beneath the surface. Similarly, the show’s onomatopoeic title with its lighthearted phonetics masks the more serious connotations of such commotion.
Multi-disciplinary artist Wim Legrand was born in Belgium, where he honed his skills as master printmaker at a prominent international centre for graphic arts, after completing his studies in visual arts in 2000. His career as a painter has steadily advanced in parallel. To date, Legrand has had two solo exhibitions in Belgium and has participated in numerous group exhibitions in South Africa, Belgium and Germany. He currently lives and works in Cape Town, where he runs Black River Studio – a production space that collaborates with artists on fine art screen printing projects. Brouhaha is Legrand’s first solo exhibition in South Africa.