Bronze Sculptures With Enormous Heads Inflated by the “Weight of Thought”

Not Enough Brains to Survive

“Not Enough Brains to Survive”

Belgian artist Thomas Lerooy is known for his ability to draw on classical motifs to play with modern concepts. His 2009 series of four bronze sculptures, created for his Braindance exhibition, are a prime example of how his work touches on universal themes. The sculptures, with their oversized heads and small torsos, draw out an immediate reaction. One sculpture, in particular, Not Enough Brains to Survive, continues to be one of his most recognizable works.

The original idea for the work was drawn from Lerooy's inability to hone in on one concept for his upcoming exhibition. In the end, that challenge became the concept. “That endless search became, at a certain point, the main idea. I was searching a step above my capacity—going further than my mind possibly could reach,” Lerooy tells My Modern Met. “I started to think about how I could turn this idea into a sculpture. My head literally felt very big and heavy, like I only existed out of a mind and no body…a fight between inside and outside.”

Drawing from his love of Classical Greek and Roman sculpture, Lerooy created strong and powerful bodies weighed down by large heads. For him, the pieces represent a moment of stillness just before the fall. In particular, Not Enough Brains to Survive has become a hallmark of Lerooy's oeuvre. Here a small body leans to the side, dragged over by the weight of an enormous head. Liquid spills from the figure's slightly open mouth as his head rests on the ground, unable to find the strength to support it.

As Lerooy himself acknowledges, over the years these works have taken on new meaning by viewers. People put their own layers and meanings into the art, allowing them to constantly evolve and remain dynamic. “What I notice today is that they pop up everywhere on social media in all different kinds of scenarios and meanings,” shares Lerooy. “They are picked up by students, after heavy months of lockdown, #BlackLivesMatter, people with hangovers… After a work of art is shown to an audience, it starts its own life and that is what is interesting, that people give it their own meaning.”

Belgian artist Thomas Lerooy's sculptures with oversized heads were inspired by his inability to be decisive.

Over and Over Sculpture by Thomas Lerooy

“Over and Over”

Not Enough Brains to Survive by Thomas Lerooy

“Not Enough Brains to Survive”

Bronze Sculpture by Thomas Lerooy

“Why Worry”

Oversized Bronze Sculpture by Thomas Lerooy

“Over and Over”

Braindance Sculptures by Thomas Lerooy

Over a decade later, the sculptures continue to take on new meaning by viewers.

Contemporary Sculpture at Petit PalaisThomas Lerooy Bronze SculpturesThomas Lerooy Bronze SculpturesThomas Lerooy: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Rodolphe Janssen.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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