Magazine article Artforum International

Damien De Lepeleire: La Lettre Volee. (Brussels)

Magazine article Artforum International

Damien De Lepeleire: La Lettre Volee. (Brussels)

Article excerpt

Damien De Lepeleire is a Belgian painter whose work proceeds in series, with all that this implies in dealing with difference and repetition, coherence and uncertainty. In response to the invitation from the publishing house La Lettre Volee to produce an art book, the artist chose as his subject--having already treated such diverse themes as soccer, Op art, and pornography--the art book. The result is "Trop beau pour etre vrai" (Too good to be true), 2000-2001, a series of sixty watercolor and ink renditions, more or less exact, of selected pages.

One group took as a subject books devoted to Matisse published in conjunction with the Matisse exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts and a retrospective at the Musee National d'Art Moderne de Paris in 1956. Sometimes an ink drawing reproduces the title page of a catalogue, with title, author, and date (Retrospective, 2001); sometimes a watercolor reproduces a work, with the text or the page number that accompanies it, as in The Joy of Living, 2001. Following this were pages from (often) out-of-print books on Picasso and Cezanne, Velazquez and Gericault. The severe character of the scholarly book is softened, diluted, as it were, in the watercolor and the ink. This effect is accentuated when De Lepeleire takes on contemporary artists such as Panamarenko and Jan Vercruysse--Belgian artists, certainly, but also masters of the production of books, catalogues, and editions. It is to this art that De Lepeleire's book pays homage. The sketch in orange and pink watercolor of an atopia by Vercruysse (Histoire de 1' art II. …

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