Lode Laperre


The nomad in Lode Laperre

Lode Laperre’s oeuvre and his practice as a painter can in several respects both be described as nomadic. Francis Picabia’s 1921 statement, intended to be quite anarchic – “One has to be a nomad, to journey through ideas as one journeys through cities and streets” – is certainly applicable here. What Picabia meant above all was that one should not always adhere to imposed standards, and can even go against them. We also encounter this non-conformism in Lode Laperre, who was never converted to prevailing trends, but went his own way more than a quarter of a century ago. Although we might as a consequence characterise him as some kind of loner, his work has clear points of contact with both (material) fundamental painting and with the (more sensitive) lyrical abstraction, and is simultaneously an experiment and a reflection of emotion.

His artistic course is not marked out beforehand, nor is it known exactly how each individual work will turn out. In a certain sense it also remains a quest, a never-ending journey from work to work, whereby the romantic cliché of the artist fruitlessly devoted to creating the perfect painting nevertheless makes a brief return appearance. However, Lode Laperre is not the tormented type, but finds satisfaction more in the creative process and the exploration of pictorial elements.

On his voyage of discovery, Lode Laperre has gradually liberated himself from any form of local tradition, and – despite his respect for the art history of his own region – soon threw off the yoke of the artistic tradition associated with the River Lys area. In this way he allied himself with the notion of ‘alter-modernism’ as formulated by the philosopher Nicolas Bourriaud in 2009. He says, in addition, that the artist wants to free himself from uniformity and commercialism, and in this way develop as an individual. Today’s society, unlike the past when artists were too often isolated and/or less mobile, enables the artist to learn about anything and everything, thereby removing the need for travel in the literal sense.

When Laperre opens up to other impressions and other cultures, regardless of his roots, his way of thinking also becomes nomadic. The best example is his well-known fascination with oriental culture, but his horizons are much broader, taking him to every century and continent. His cultural baggage has grown exponentially over the years, and has always fuelled the depth of his work. The latter with the addition of his sense of experiment, plus having the courage to allow chance to play a role, creates an impressive range of possibilities. The variation and wealth he is thereby able to introduce into his work is simply spectacular.

Wim Lammertijn