It is not easy work for the viewer, let's put that first, but it is also not a simple task that Franck Bragigand has taken on. Because how do you represent ‘the world’ in all its wealth, its complexity, with its many facets, how man have viewed and changed it, the society in which we live, and so on ... as good as possible? Dutch art was already known in the seventeenth century, or even earlier, for its focus on the representation of reality. ‘The Art of Describing’ is the title of a famous book about Dutch art. Franck Bragigand, however, does not look at the reality of objects such as still life, landscape, seafaring, interiors, as the Dutch masters once did, but also the reality of institutions, how man has designed and viewed the world from various disciplines, such as philosophy and hermeneutics, religion, science, metaphysics, world politics and economy, but also the layout of the world as used by the United Nations. This requires an in-depth study of various documents, writings, publications, and books that he considers important. He studies it thoroughly, like a scientist, but not as someone who deals with one specific subject, but as an all-rounder who investigates the complexity, the connections within the whole world, or even the universe. You would say an impossible task. It is crazy, but Bragigand sees it as a life's task and takes his work seriously. He is busy putting together an encyclopedia of our reality, our world in all its complexity.
All this entails that many words and terms also appear in his art. Art Language, Art is Language, and later another combination of language and art will form his signature.
But despite the abundance of words, names, terms in his art, Bragigand considers himself primarily a painter. His goal is to make the viewer think. The underlying structures of our world, our universe, which he believes he can expose through his careful examination of countless documents, evokes astonishment in himself, and -he also hopes- in ourselves as a viewer. By doing so he discovers that the number 10 does not only occur in the biblical ten commandments, but also underlies other basic rules, regulations and principles such as the Washington Concensus, the Bill of Rights or even the principles of Burning Man.
On the back wall of the gallery an encyclopedic main work is hanging, in which he has depicted the important world events from 1901 to the present, the various developments, international conventions, conferences and their consequences, etc. in a colorful, almost cheerful work.
The above may all sound rather rational, impersonal, no matter how colorful it may be, but then he shows another large work in which he presents his family line, his Family Tree in a long horizontal line, surrounded by important events, inventions, discoveries taking place from the beginning of the 17th century. At the bottom of the four-part work, he has depicted the different growth forms of treas. A joke, but also a serious matter. On the last page he has depicted himself in a bright red round shape, with his year of birth. From there, a line has been drawn further leading to his son, who was born in 1995. Time goes on, the future is still open. And time, dynamics, change, that stands out as a common thread in this important overview of his oeuvre. Including the time it takes to "read" the work.
In other words. We are not an entity separate from the world, the events around us, our life, our being, our existence is embedded in the complex world around us, in history, and therefore the artist himself is also influenced by the events of the world, is part of it, but he himself is also adding something to this world in the form of his art. He sees it as his task as an artist, as a painter as he continues to consider himself, not only to make us aware of how we are an integral part of this complex world, how we are influenced by it, perhaps even manipulated, but he invites us through this rich work also to delve into those complex relationships that co-determine our lives. That is why the artist also invites the visitor to talk to him. And I can assure you, a conversation with Franck Bragigand is very fascinating and enriching!