After a book based on the work of artist Michal Borremans was seen in the background of a photo shoot for luxury fashion brand Balenciaga, it became a topic of conversation on social media.
In the past few days, the company has been criticized for pictures on its website that were part of an ad campaign and showed toddlers holding the brand’s Teddy Bear Handbags. The stuffed toys looked like they were wearing slave clothes, like fishnet shirts and leather harnesses and collars with spikes.
On Sunday, Kim Kardashian, a brand ambassador for Balenciaga, said in a statement that she was “disgusted” and “shaken” by the controversial photos. Other well-known people have also said bad things about the photos.
I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened.
— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) November 27, 2022
In response to the backlash on social media about the images from last week, a Balenciaga image from a different ad campaign has come back into the spotlight. It showed an adult woman posing with her feet on a desk cluttered with papers and a small stack of books.
The book “As Sweet as It Gets” by Michal Borremans was on that pile. A Twitter user zoomed in on the artist’s name and posted a link to other works about him, highlighting Michal Borremans: Fire from the Sun by Michael Bracewell.
A description of the sun’s fire On Amazon, it says that Borremans’ art shows children who are “presented alone or in groups against a studio-like backdrop that negates time and space while highlighting the theatrical atmosphere and artifice that exists in all of Borremans’ recent work.”
The book’s description says, “The toddlers remind me of cherubs in Renaissance paintings.” “They seem like allegories of the human condition, with their archetypal innocence and suggested cunning.”
Last week, some of the images in question were shared on social media, which led critics to say that the Borremans paintings were proof that Balenciaga’s use of the book in its shoot was related to something more sinister.
🚨 OHHHHHH MYYYYY G— #BALENCIAGA… 𝗜𝗧 𝗚𝗘𝗧𝗦 𝗪𝗢𝗥𝗦𝗘!!!!!!!!!!!🚨 pic.twitter.com/Fa6TOO6EXk
— NΛTLY DΞNISΞ (@itsnatlydenise) November 23, 2022
Who Is Michaël Borremans?
Borremans is a painter and filmmaker from Geraardsbergen, Belgium. The 59-year-old lives in Ghent, where he works on his unique painting style, which combines the styles of Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas with art from the 18th century.
Borremans has said that one of his many influences is the Spanish court painter Diego Velázquez. Borremans went to the Luca School of Arts in Schaerbeek, Belgium, before he started his career.
His work can be seen at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others.
In an interview with the art magazine Apollo in 2016, Borremans talked about his work and said, “Drawing gives me the most freedom because all I need is a pencil and a piece of paper.” In a drawing, you can do anything you want. Not so in a painting. “Not in my situation.”
‘Fire From The Sun’ Paintings
Borremans’s work has been shown in many places, including a solo show in Hong Kong of his Fire from the Sun series of paintings, which showed bloody toddlers playing in fire and what looked like human limbs.
A review of the 2018 show on the website Elephant. art said that the “perceived meaning of the works is difficult to voice or uncomfortable to admit.”
The review went on to say, “Fire from the Sun shows children aged two or three playing with fire and what look like human limbs, even hair, in different ways.” The children are all Sistine-style cherubs with light skin, and sometimes they are covered in blood. “The children don’t seem worried or upset, but some people in the gallery might be.”
In another part of the review, it said, “While the fire and (possible) cannibalism suggest some kind of ritual, the works are most frightening as sketches of random violence that is both cause and effect.” “The characters shown don’t fit one stereotype (angelic) but do fit another (demonic).”
In an excerpt from his book about Borremans’ work, Bracewell wrote, “The scenes shown in most of the paintings in Fire from the Sun show a state of being or society in which the primal is out of control, without direction, in a state of anarchy.”
In an interview with Apollo in 2016, Borremans talked about how his religious background might have influenced some of his work. He said, “I was raised Roman Catholic, but then I lost my faith.”
“I still like the idea that people get together in a building to talk about life and death. But any religion that is run by an institution is bad. It should be like Buddhism: you can only do it in your head. “If it’s not about power, you’re missing the point.”
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