Museum Director Katia Baudin once described Dutch artist Frank Bragigand as the ‘last true modernist’. His practice includes a range so diverse it spans from the restoration of furniture to public space interventions and hotel bar design. But if only for the sake of context, ‘painter’ best describes Bragigand’s role in his latest exhibition, Art Language, on show at the Lloyd Hotel (2016) and Gallery Lumen Travo in Amsterdam.
The Lloyd’s history with Bragigand goes way back, when he was asked to design the popular Red Bar for the hotel in 2008. Complete with a mirror ball in the centre of the space and mostly standing-only places, the Red Bar demanded a kind of presence from guests. It wasn’t a place to get comfy, it was a place to move and socialise. Similarly, Bragigand’s latest work is a challenge to becoming comfortable in the world, one that, according to Bragigand ‘stopped being understandable at some point’.
Bragigand refuses grand gestures and statements in favour of phrasing uncomfortable questions about what art or painting is today. His challenge manifests in two parts of Art Language, the first is a series of wall-mounted colourful ‘painterly’ graphics – that is utilizing graphics and words but with a painter’s approach. In the second part of the exhibition Bragigand gives form to certain ‘constellations of knowledge’ around topics such as climate change and religion using white, ephemeral floating spheres – resulting in sculptural information visualizations based on years of research and reading by the artist.