Belgian artist Thomas Lerooy combines two age-old mediums—bronze and glass—in his exciting conceptual sculptures. Speaking in Tongues and You Were On My Mind were both created in 2014 and exhibited at Glasstress in 2015—a collateral event of the La Biennale di Venezia that focuses on contemporary glass art. “Artists want to create the best work that they can,” Lerooy tells My Modern Met. “You can be very angry when it doesn’t work, and throw it away, and then sometimes you look at it again, and it looks really beautiful. These two sculptures started in that way of thinking. I think there’s beauty in that kind of destruction.”
Lerooy's pieces are inspired by the tradition of bronze classical sculpture. Speaking in Tongues depicts an unstable male figure perforated by glass bottles that are slowly filling with his oozing bronze body. “I wanted to create a classical-inspired statue that was almost falling over—like he was drunk,” Lerooy explains. “I like the idea of sculpture inside a sculpture with something coming out. So I make holes in the body and place bottles there, making it look like the body is leaking somehow.” The conceptual piece appears to explore the relationship between the person and the consumption of alcohol. “The idea that he is wearing the problem is very beautiful, I think,” he continues. “It's almost like a tree of glass.”
Similarly, You Were On My Mind depicts an unattached arm pouring a giant bottle of liquid on its skin, while the head of the person is trapped inside of the glass. “I wanted to use a big, strong classical-inspired arm for this sculpture,” Lerooy says. “The idea was that I wanted to ‘drink the whole figure.' Usually, it's your mind that is giving orders to your hand, but in this sculpture, the arm is drinking the whole body and head.” The artist incorporated a real champagne bottle in the piece and sculpted the open-mouthed face of the man inside. “What I like about this piece is the combination of materials, bronze and glass, so it's both hard and fragile.”
Lerooy is part of an upcoming exhibition called Nature Morte at The Hole in New York City from April 8 to May 9, 2021. You can follow the artist on Instagram to keep up to date with his latest projects.