Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate Franschhoek

La-La Land

When discussing the works of FRANCOIS VAN REENEN, words like "fantasy", "fantastic", "whimsical", "playful" and "child-like" often occur. Conversations about the work makes one aware that these terms are certainly not inappropriate as one is seduced by the soft, ice-creamy colours of his sculptures, but one also realizes that there is a slightly uncomfortable edge, a blandness and nostalgia to the works within which a world of discomforting realities lurks. We sense that all is not what it seems in this candy-coated world, a slight sense of unease hovers above the playful innocence. It is also fascinating that VAN REENEN's works tend to invert the usual gender relationship in which the female plays a passive participant in a world determined and shaped by the active male - his female figures are invariably the larger and more powerful characters whilst the boys are diminutive and 'innocent'. Dogs and boy-as-dog are recurring features where the dog represents our instinctual drives - whether creative, sexual or violent.

The world that VAN REENEN creates describes an imagined place and time in which many of our own conventions have been inverted or undermined. Like 'our world', things are not always what they seem - superficial seductiveness sometimes gives way to a suggestion of darker motives.

Johann du Plessis is curating the exhibition. For further enquiries phone +27(0)21 872 8630 or e-mail us at gallery@grandeprovence.co.za

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