Thomas Lerooy - Tower
About the statue:
In June 2020, a bronze sculpture 22 metres high by the Belgian artist Thomas Lerooy was installed in Duinbergen (Knokke-Heist).
The sculpture, entitled Tower, is Leeroy’s first permanent sculpture in a public space. Tower consists of 49 bronze heads (busts), all looking straight out to sea. The faces have been manipulated and abstracted, with the noses, eyes, chins and ears all on the same vertical axis, in such a way that differences are evened out and everyone looks like everyone else.
Tower can be seen as a sequel to Lerooy's earlier works Obelrisk (2007) and Never listen to your best friend (2007). As is so often the case in his work, it addresses the transience and ephemerality of life and the sense or nonsense of existence. Time, sea salt and the wind will patinate the bronze and age it naturally.
The title of the work – Tower – is as simple as it is powerful. It refers to today’s society, made up of various elements that are more valuable together than individually. A society in which we depend on each other, listen to each other and make compromises. Just as a child might stack blocks to make a tower, Lerooy stacks heads to create something meaningful. The sculpture is also a reference to Brancusi’s Endless Column, a 30-metre column with an infinitely repeated motif of diamond-shaped modules that seems to rise without end.
Tower, like Brancusi's column, has a strong verticality. It’s almost as if a line has been drawn by hand, rising from the horizon, out of the sea and into the air. Like some kind of power struggle with the infinity of the sea, the sculpture serves as an obelisk, anchoring point or cathedral. Duality and tension are inherent to Lerooy's work, which is provocative, playful and challenging.
Lerooy is a master of seduction and deception. He combines drama and humour, reconciling the theatrical with the intimate, but also focuses on the tension between transience and timelessness, between old and new, between life and death. In 2006, the Belgian public were introduced to the artist Thomas Lerooy when one of his first bronze sculptures – Le petit Jean – was exhibited on the roof of the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens.
Lerooy’s putto – which is the technical term for a chubby, naked child in a work of art – was peeing in the direction of the visitors. Fourteen years later, we now have Leeroy’s first permanent sculpture in a public space: a monumental bronze sculpture soaring 22 metres into the air.
(Photos © Lerooy)
About the Artist:
Thomas Lerooy, born in Roeselare in 1981, is now working in Brussels on a consistent oeuvre of drawings, bronze sculptures and paintings. In 2015, Lerooy was the first living artist to be awarded a solo exhibition at the Petit Palais in Paris.
This was followed in his home country by a solo exhibition at the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens in 2017, a duo presentation with Félicien Rops at Van Gaasbeek Castle in 2018/2019 and a solo exhibition at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSK) in Brussels.
Lerooy’s works are included in the collections of important international museums and institutions such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Belfius Art Collection in Brussels.