ANTOINE ROEGIERS (°1980. Braine l’Alleud, Belgium. Lives and works in France) graduated with honors from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 2007. Roegiers’ characteristic technique of the past few years was inspired by the classic Old Masters: Peter Paul Rubens, Pieter Breughel, Hieronymus Bosch and Guido Reni. Roegiers sees them as his artistic fathers and lets himself be guided by the works of his deceased mentors. He takes details from the grand but at times grandiose paintings of Rubens and reformulates them into new, autonomous compositions which seem to be in full movement, as we can see in Le Baiser. The spectator is literally forced to focus his gaze onto the frozen image amidst all that movement. He purposely leaves the edges blurred to direct all the attention to one particular detail or situation. It’s like a clair-obscur reminiscent of the baroque artists who applied this technique to ‘lighten up’ the part that stirs the imagination the most. Contemporary painting in the 21st century allows for this transformation of well-known paintings from a bygone era in accordance with a new and contemporary vision and thus for a new generation.
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Generations and the passing on of inspiration between them is a recurrent theme throughout Antoine Roegiers’ work. Every aspect of his work has an autobiographical element to it. His father was his first true mentor since it was because of him that he first discovered art. It wasn’t until studying painting at the École des Beaux Arts however, that he got in touch with the Old Masters. He did not solely admire them for their technique, but also questioned their significance in the contemporary art scene and the current generation in general. How come nearly everyone’s first encounter with art was one with a Rubens or Breughel painting? But most of all, why do a lot of spectators stop looking at them? By being constantly confronted with the works of these Old Masters during his art education, it felt sacrilegious even attempting to paint in the same style. Roegiers decided to use this age-old generation-gap and to translate it for a new audience. An audience to which his own son now belongs, turning Roegiers into a mentor for someone else’s life. He has now become the guide he always needed
Video is another fundamental element in his work. As a true pioneer he uses the medium in a very meticulous way. His first animated painting, L’académie (2005), was a 2’15” long clip inspired by a small painting, Paysans, by the painter’s trio Le Nain from the Louvre where he often went. This gave him the idea to surprise the spectator by letting added figures move in existing scenes. The mystery was born. Every video-piece is a sequence of handmade drawings, like his Paysages Vides (après Breughel), which are deserted Breughel landscapes. This work is yet another way of showing the Old Masters to a new audience through a contemporary story.
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