Leafing through the recent edition of Mousse magazine, I came across the work of Belgian artist Kasper Bosmans and was struck by his varied use of images and ideas from antiquity. In two installations pieces – Hermès in Exile (low and high versions) and Juno Sospita and Coco (Silver Denarius), Bosmans makes indirect connections between the iconography (and mythology, in the Barthesian sense) of ancient deities and modern fashion.
This same juxtaposition takes place in a more schematic and complex way in his series of Legends, where Greek temples, Hercules’ tasks and Catholic saints are anachronistically brought into dialogue with Star Wars spaceships and other icons of modern design.
Here is what Bosmans’ says when confronted with the question of his use of anachronism in his work:
The market directs our attention to high art, and our economy is focused on tourism. But rarely do we speak anymore of the Catholic or Hellenistic heritage that has influenced our culture so immensely. The veil of anachronism installs a detachment that makes one able to see connections across past and present.
This anachronism also takes on a political bent when we see two columns, one with the stars of the European Union flag behind them and another with a painting of the myth of the Rape of Europa (a symbol of European unity used on the first Euro coin).
Given the threats to the EU in this new year – from Brexit to the possible election of Le Pen in French election this spring – these symbols of European unity may become anachronisms as well. Let’s hope not and stay focused on working and living together this year. Happy 2017!