"Overly excessive or flashy ornamentation or decoration.
Fuss over something of little importance."
Following on from 2017's solo, 'Brouhaha', Wim Legrand continues to explore his idiosyncratic visual language of sponges, cheeses, hotdogs – randomly commonplace, seemingly innocuous objects staged in fabulistic scenes.
But there is a marked departure in context and scale: these succulent items are served up within a nostalgic 1950s domestic landscape, set in a scale relationship with anthropomorphic figures. Characters resembling Olive Oyl (Popeye’s ever-distressed damsel), gloved hands à la Mickey Mouse and Toodles Galore (of Tom and Jerry fame) impose themselves within the narratives with a subtle air of threat that belies the cartoonish humour and associations of domesticity.
This introduction of a subject-object dynamic spotlights a host of questions already flitting beneath the surface and buzzing on our hyper-commodified social media landscape: aesthetic theoretical questions around cuteness and its connections with both powerlessness and pervasiveness, with edibility and consumption, and with the domestic.
(On a side note, the Toodles character also serves as a wink at the current obsession on social media of Ailuranthropy – or in Twitter terms, adding feline features to one’s selfies.)
Multi-disciplinary artist Wim Legrand (1978 - ) offers a playful take on the paradoxical strangeness of everyday reality, while commenting on our postmodern condition as victims to the barrage of information and news feeds. Mundane and forgettable objects usher the familiar into peculiar allegorical narratives, where past blurs with present and fact with fiction – setting scenes in the unfettered “now” of a dream, meanings just out of reach and continually open to interpretation. He combines painting with drawing, cartoons and pop culture with aesthetic references to North European history painting and Surrealist traditions – the post-modern world overlaid onto the art historical atmosphere in which he was raised.
Legrand was born in Belgium, where he honed his skills as master printmaker. He currently lives and works in Cape Town, where he runs a collaborative production space – working with artists on fine art screen printing projects. To date, he has held solo shows in Belgium and South Africa and has participated in numerous group exhibitions across the globe.