RADAR

5 reasons to get excited about Fernand Léger at BOZAR

As we are gearing up for this exciting exhibition, here are five reasons why you should definitely put it in your diary.

 

Major Retrospective

The term ‘once in a lifetime’ is banded about way too often, but this is the first retrospective of the French artist in Belgium since 1956. We’ll let you do the maths.

Archive de l'exposition de Fernand Léger au Palais des Beaux-Arts en 1937 © BOZAR
Archive de l'exposition de Fernand Léger au Palais des Beaux-Arts en 1937 © BOZAR

 

Man of the people

No ivory tower for this painter. Léger was a politically engaged artist, with his feet firmly planted on the factory floor (or in the circus). His art was, as befits a member of the Communist Party, truly aimed at everyone.

Fernand Léger, Les Constructeurs (état définitif), 1950. Musée national Fernand Léger, Biot © Sabam, 2017
Fernand Léger, Les Constructeurs (état définitif), 1950. Musée national Fernand Léger, Biot © Sabam, 2017

 

Man of his time

Léger was thrilled by the technological and industrial whirlwind of his era. And he was crazy about Charlie Chaplin and cinema. He painted movie posters, designed sets, and even co-directed a movie.

Ballet Mécanique, 1924, Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy
Ballet Mécanique, 1924, Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy

 

Influential Teacher

As a teacher Léger helped shape a whole generation of artists. His grateful students include artists like sculptor Louise Bourgeois and photographer William Klein. And even an aspiring painter called Serge Gainsbourg.

Fernand Léger and his students completing Le Transport des forces, Therèse Bonney / Courtesy of The Bancroft Library University of California, Berkeley © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Fernand Léger and his students completing Le Transport des forces, Therèse Bonney / Courtesy of The Bancroft Library University of California, Berkeley © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016

 

Beauty Is Everywhere

Léger found beauty in the everyday. Even in “the rows of pots hanging against the white wall of your kitchen.” So be prepared to look at your kitchen utensils in a completely new way.

Still Life with a Beer Mug, 1921, Tate, London
Still Life with a Beer Mug, 1921, Tate, London

See also