Jehan Legac’s exotic and provocative artwork is on display at Nave8, Ibiza. Legac is a well-known fashion photographer and he also works in oil painting to capture the female form. The artist started producing his large format oil paintings on canvas in Ibiza because the light is particularly bright and fresh. He speaks to Aesthetica about his approach to his practice and his interest in the feminine body.
A: How do you want audiences to respond to your work?
JL: Well, I would like my audience to respond with cash or eventually with a credit card – just kidding! Love is what matters and this is what I would like the audience to feel when they see my work. A perfect body is what people are running after at the moment and I see it every day on Ibiza’s and Miami’s beaches. What I paint is not about reflecting perfection, instead, I am interested in courting the idea of it and to try and get as close to it as possible. I love to keep this illusion alive that perfection is possible. I also paint these figures as a way to warn those obsessed with perfect beauty that running after it is like chasing after wealth of power. We need to remember that somebody will always come out one day with more beauty, more money, more power; so, to base a life on these pillars is very dangerous for the well being of humanity.
A: You often work with oil painting, what was it that drew you to this medium?
JL: Time is one of my obsessions. I love photography because I can capture and freeze an instant moment in life, a second of youth, beauty or light, and keep it for at least a century. With oil, I will be able to keep it even longer and this will help my visions to travel into the future to be shared with new audiences, who will look back at this old painter named Jehan Legac born in the 20th century. In addition to this inner obsession to survive over time, oil is a fantastic medium, it gives sensuality to the brush because of the way it moves when covered with oil and pigments. When I paint a female form with oil, the process is smoother, closer and softer. Another thing to note it that oil takes a long time to dry, which gives you the opportunity to change your mind and to step back and to analyse what you feel about the work.
A: Your works mix the sensual with the surreal, how would you best describe your “manifesto” or aims in your practice?
JL: I believe sensuality belongs to art. It is an expression linked to the talent that somebody has to become desirable and seductive. Painting these cyber-mate bodies, dressed with an ultra thin unknown futurist material, makes me feel as though I am a futurist fashion designer able to invent a biologic outfit capable to protect a desirable goddess from an external threat. I sometime believe this threat will come from being obliged to survive the violence due to poverty but also from invincible virus that will invade our world if we continue playing this much with science laboratories. Of course, these labs are necessary for humanities’ evolution and protection, but some lab owners might forget about evolution and become more interested in their bank accounts and power status.
A: You often study the female form, a form that appears again and again in art, why do you think artists return time after time to the female body?
JL: What on earth is more perfect and beautiful than a woman’s body? I could think of a flower, but the intention may be slightly different in term of communication. To paint a woman is similar to painting love, desire, addiction and power. I believe painters, sculptors, photographers and writers are sharing this same dreams of expressing their own passion for women. We can sometimes use art to cross borders into worlds that we dream about and also fear.
A: Which female has influenced you and your art the most?
JL: I would say my best muses come from my dreams. When I close my eyes to escape our systematic world, I am in a place where fantasy is the most important thing. Dreams are a wonderful escape from a monotone life and predictability.
A: What do you have planned for the future?
JL: My first plan is to enjoy life and all the beauty Mother Nature offers us. When I am not locked behind my desk paying invoices and fighting duties to survive our regulated systems, I will be creating art. I plan to create a new collection of large format paintings dedicated to flowers and I believe Bangkok will be the perfect location. The Bangkok flower market is open 24/7 and it is a wonderful place to hang around and experience all the different scents. Also, because time is one of my obsessions, flowers demonstrate how fast beauty can fade. I will also be producing some new cyber-mates in 2014 and 2015.
Nave8, C/Alcalde Bartolomé Roselló i Sala 9B, 07800 Ibiza Spain.
1. Jehan Legac, War is Over, oil on canvas, 120cm x 120cm courtesy of the artist and Nave8.