Phlegm Celebrates Pieter Bruegel the Elder at the Royal Library of Belgium
We recently mentioned Phlegm as an example artist who is pushing boundaries for "street artists," so we thought to mention a recent project he did for KBR, the former Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels. Earlier in 2019, the London-based artist painted a mural referencing the work of Pieter Bruegel the Elder on the monumental 18th-century Palace of Charles of Lorraine in the heart of Brussels. But probably more importantly, he also produced a copper engraving for the major retrospective exhibition focusing on Bruegel’s print oeuvre, now on view through the 16th of February.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.15025-1569), a painter and printmaker known for his landscapes and peasant scenes, was the most significant artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting. Though nowadays he is most celebrated for his painting, it was his prints that made him famous during his own lifetime. Joining the nation-wide effort to commemorate 450 years since his passing, KBR has put up an exhibition of unique black-and-white prints and etchings by this Flemish Master, his contemporaries and other artists influenced by his craftmanship and enterprising skills – The World of Bruegel in Black and White.
As a big fan of the renowned artist's technical skill, breakthrough concepts and originality, Phlegm was honored to participate in the historic celebration of Bruegel's legacy. He created his own take on Luxuria, an image from Bruegel's The Seven Deadly Sins series that features exceptionally dense compositions of weird figures and infernal landscapes. Originally created sometime between 1556 and 1558 and followed by The Seven Virtues, this body of work examines the notions of sin and virtue through two series of prints, produced in mirrored format.
Using an authentic burin tool, Phlegm produced a new copper engraving filled with signature characters and creatures who replace Bruegel's original cast. Intentionally blurring the boundary between each time period, the finished piece has the classical appearance of the original but features Phlegm's recognizable imagery, making a distinct connection between history and now. As the only contemporary artist in the show, Phlegm's engraving, along with the original plate, receives a crucial spot as the final piece of the exhibition, representing the relevance of Bruegel's vision and legacy in modern-day art. –Sasha Bogojev