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Thomas Lerooy

"The garden of exile"
29 May – 17 July 2010
Galerie I, Paris

Galerie Nathalie Obadia is delighted to organise the first French solo exhibition by Belgian artist Thomas Lerooy.

In his sculptures and drawings Lerooy (born Roeselare, 1981) conjures up a fantastical world that takes beholders to the intimate frontiers of humanity, probing the dark areas and the flaws that define man’s mental and physical limits. Each work evokes metaphysical questions as the artist offers his richly ironic explorations of such themes as creation, desire and death.

Lerooy’s work teems with strange creatures and symbols of death. His drawings celebrate an aesthetic tradition reaching back to Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, but also recall the vanitas paintings of the 17th century, mixed in with the grotesque and macabre humour of more recent artists like James Ensor, Félicien Rops and Antoine Wiertz. Just as Ensor painted self-portraits with a skull, and Rops showed prostitutes copulating with skeletons, so Lerooy transforms the head of the Mona Lisa into a skull, and his impassive faces are furrowed by erotic fault lines or holes in the frontal cortex threatening to swallow up the little bit of brain that remains.

The drawings and sculptures presented here show the artist exploring the paths and questions of creativity with his characteristic dark humour and sense of the absurd. Lerooy sees the artist as a mediator between man and his inner world, a world that in his works becomes luxuriant and manifests itself by overflowing the structure of the body.