ESSAYS, INTERVIEWS & REVIEWS
Damien De Lepeleire - 2017 - Friendly Fire [NL, review]
New collages by Damien De Lepeleire
Two years ago, during a residency at the Academia Belgica in Rome, Damien De Lepeleire (°1965) began to pay attention to so-called ornamental attributes of architectural achievements from the middle ages, the renaissance and the baroque period. Eventually this led him to study marble floors (e.g. the medieval cosmatesques) and the mosaics from ancient Rome. What strikes him in these mosaics, is how the visual simplification due to the use of square stones has produced a meeting between mathematics and color and an invention of graphic stratagems the like of which the art of painting didn’t enjoy until the 20th century.
One might consider the resulting series of collage-paintings, assembled under the title Inferno’s Floor, an homage of the major arts to the so-called minor ones. Gluing small cut-outs from newspapers and art books to canvas, De Lepeleire reconstructs ancient mosaics or invents new ones, shining a distorted light on the patterns of marble floors, the head of a Roman Medusa or Mike Tyson. These are amazing works, light-footed and stern at the same time, intimately linked with De Lepeleire’s previous work, but completely fresh. Paved with good intentions, this painter’s voyage through hell seems to produce more and more breathing space.
Montagne de Miel, November 22nd 2017