Laurens Legiers, 'A Whimsy Odyssey'

PLUS-ONE Gallery (New South)

Born in 1994 in Antwerp, Legiers already started drawing landscapes before enrolling at the Painting Department of Antwerp’s Fine Art Academy, where he finally was able to focus solely on his artistic work. While landscapes remained a constant fixture in his practice, his way of conveying them has developed progressively to arrive at the unique approach he now swears by in both his paintings and his drawings. […] A certain vastness is suggested by radical cut-outs and close-ups, which give the impression of being focused on a detail of something present in serial abundance. Legiers masters a remarkable sense for balance and contrast, always ensuring a hint of movement in his overtly stilled, static and composed images.

Throughout the years, the artist has assembled a vocabulary of recurring shapes and objects which are indebted to both quotidian life as to the grand history of landscape painting. His leaves, mussels, boats, trees and lilacs celebrate the ordinary, while also paying tribute to Belgian Surrealism and specific painters such as Jean Brusselmans (1884 - 1953). The latter, for example, also approached everyday landscapes from his immediate surroundings as suitable material to create abstracted landscapes in which the logic of perspective is abandoned in favour of a more stacked, puzzle-like confluence of elements. Considering Legiers is an artist working from intuition, seasonality and small autobiographical anecdotes do sometimes trigger certain choices - a meal with asparagus cooked by a loved one, a climbing plant on a friend’s terrace, the colours of the season from the window of his studio. They are the sole real-life influences that one can encounter in his work. Balancing on the thin line between recognition and estrangement.

Legiers is in awe of nature and embraces it as his prime and sole subject matter to convey dreamy and escapist works. He wants to offer his spectator a respite from the hustle and bustle of contemporary life, a temporary place of refuge from which to drift off. It’s in this regard that Romanticism is also often cited as a crucial source of inspiration for him. The Romantics’ attempt to grasp the sublime whilst paradoxically fully embracing mankind’s humility in the light of nature’s grandness, is what drove late 18th century landscape painters to depict stormy seascapes, abundant forests, and dramatic skies. Taking into account the stylistic contrast with Legiers’ contained depiction of nature, one must also note the disparity between the serene detachment so apparent in his work, and the individualistic whirling emotionality from the Romantic era which stirred brushstrokes into passionate compositions - even if they were to manifest calmness and introverted contemplation.
No, what drives Legiers’ isn’t so much a relentless urge to manifest himself or a necessity for self-expression, as it is an insatiable desire to perfect his craft as an artist. Within this light, his entire oeuvre can be understood as one continuous body of work.

Excerpt out of a text by Evelyn Simons, for the publication ‘ECHOES OF THE UNSEEN’ (2024)

The publication, 'ECHOES OF THE UNSEEN' can be pre-ordered through the following link:
The artist and the gallery made en edition on the occasion of this exhibition. You can view the work via this link:
'Untitled (Asparagus with Sun Glare)'

Laurens Legiers (b. 1994, Belgium) lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. Recent exhibitions include ‘A Whimsy Odyssey’, PLUS-ONE Gallery (2024, solo), ‘If only’, Nicodim, New York (2023, solo); DISEMBODIED, Nicodim, New York (2023); Dusk till Dawn, PLUS- ONE Gallery, Antwerp (2022, solo); Walking, running, falling, L21 Gallery, Mallorca (2022); A Veil of Thoughts, Gallery Vacancy, Shanghai (2021, solo); Rewinding, Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles (2021); Nature Morte, The Hole, New York (2021); Soft Thoughts, PLUS-ONE Gallery, Antwerp (2020, solo);Universes 3, WOAW Gallery, Hong Kong (2020); Arcades, Base Alpha, Antwerp (2019).
Fair participations include Art Brussels (BE), Art Antwerp (BE), Enter Art Fair (Copenhagen, DK), Taipei Dangdai (TW), Felix Art Fair (Los Angeles, US), Art Shanghai (China), CAN Art Fair (Ibiza, ES) and Art Rotterdam (NL).

Presented artist

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