CHENNAI: White is often a medium for creating space, or helps in accentuating designs, but for Paris-born Pierre Legrand, the shade has been a metaphor in all his works over the last 25 years. The Sacred Space, another expression of his spiritual pursuits, that is on display at Apparao Galleries, presents the colour prism that white can be, through a series of installations and sculptures.
He says simply, “I like white. It offers a purifying experience and that is the reason I keep going back to it.” An engineer by profession, Pierre was deeply influenced by Sri Aurobindo’s writings and he eventually moved to Auroville in the 60’s. After meeting the Mother, he embarked on spiritual research that later inspired him to find a novel way to express his experiences.
“I haven’t undergone formal training in art; it was just an activity that I took to. When you undertake spiritual research, you experience things inside. There is a feeling of lightness and joy. I sought a new way to express these feelings,” he recalls.
Pierre adds that taking a thread from the process of repeating mantras, he realised that they could be more powerful when were written down. “I worked out a coded script that was in black and white. They have structured my work over the last several years,” the artist elaborates.
However, Pierre didn’t turn to art as a career, till he was invited to exhibit his work in Germany.
Having a unique stamp on his creations, and working in seclusion all these years, he acknowledges that tribal and tantric arts have influenced his works.
“I simplify my work (influenced by tribal arts) a lot, using a lot of monochromes. The process has been very gratifying and over the years I have maintained an originality, as the influence has come from within,” he says.
While his penchant for white has remained since his first show, Pierre clarifies that he is not aversed to colours. “I go by phases; sometimes I go particularly white. For two years, I worked only in white,” he adds.
According to the artist, one of the turning points in his evolution was an installation — an entirely white and monumental piece.
In 2013, Pierre began exploring the Indian art terrain. “Last year, I visited the Indian Art Fair and it was a beautiful experience,” he tells is.
Pierre will head to the India International Centre in Delhi next for another show.
The Sacred Space is on at Apparao Galleries, No 7, 3rd Street, Wallace Gardens, till July 25