Julie Hanique Texte pour le catalogue édité par le centre Wallon d'art Contemporain (CWAC) La Chataigneraie (ENGLISH)

Throughout the artistic career of Laurent Impeduglia, his solo exhibition at the Brasseurs in Liege in 2007 is definitely one of the stand out points. After leaving the Fine Art Academy, he became more or less independent in terms of the world of fanzines and indie comic books. The alternative Comic Book prize awarded to Mycose at the Angoulême Festival in 2006, recognizing the collective energy and willingly provocative nature of a dozen or so artists raised on cans of lager and rock ‘n’ roll, paved the way for both publication and the possibility for a number of contributors to take a more personal journey.


With Make a wish, build your life, Impeduglia, in his quest for initiation as a young artist/craftsman, puts himself in the middle of a scenario mixing painting, sculpture and installation. He portrays the transition from adolescent to adult using multiple references to alchemy (stylus, kiln…), but also to the kind of popular culture inherent to every child of the 80s (early video games, merchandising from comics and Asian cartoons…) Recurrent themes are the confrontation of symbols where simultaneously, but in no particular order, philosophy is questioned and pleasure is regressive, allowing many layers of interpretation, both profound and playful, but thanks to a healthy dose of mockery, not self-righteous. Throughout the career of Impeduglia, the same demiurgic tension of his desire to both construct and deconstruct is evident; superimposing references to the point of removing their substance, respecting isometric perspective and then sweeping it away in one energetic fell swoop, pompously boasting about his name and then highlighting that it means “trip over your own feet” in Sicilian, taking a text and reworking it with spelling mistakes in a kind of simplified dyslexia…


Omnipresent in the artist’s production at any given moment of the exhibition at the Brasseurs, the colour white, almost inevitably associated with the norm of the gallery space and the idea of purity, is crucial at the moment when he gets ready to Quitter Liège (leave Liege) on a fragile makeshift vehicle to set off on an adventure of the beginning of an international career. This means not giving up on a certain ideal, notably by avoiding the seduction of singular thought and/or the contemporary art market. On his first large canvasses, like the one acquired by the SPACE Collection in 2003, he already questioned the relationship between money and art. This constant preoccupation is translated by the representation of venality in the form of the dollar sign, a vampire or a Damien Hirst gimmick.


Comparing himself to the great figures of the history of 20th Century Art is also a potential source of anguish which Impeduglia responds to with irony. When he tries to reveal his influences, amongst others, he pays tribute to ‘Do It Yourself’ Pop Art remnants or German figurative art from the 1980s. But going against the grain of often paralyzing respect, he uses new terminology (iconoclassicism, post neo cretinism…) to express himself better.


If Impeduglia plays around with labels and pigeon holes, it is without a doubt because nothing repels him more than repetition or being stuck in a creative rut. Each of his series never has more than a dozen pieces and the evolution of his work which claims to be more and more spontaneous, is perceptible from one month to the next. Certainly, the narration of the themes is constant, but the way he represents space, the palette and the strokes is constantly being reinvented. Thus, his recent canvasses, which are oil-based, reestablish the subject of the picture with more sensuality and with this, he associates a return to pleasure through spontaneity. This is a leitmotif of his creative process, he claims to lose his way, bounce ideas off other ideas and accept any mishaps.


Tempestuous and generous, Impeduglia’s work is not burdened by boundaries and obstinately and gladly ridicules the established values (art, work, money, religion…) brought together in his compositions with a flavor of the end of the world, with stability voluntarily jeopardized by precarious balance, destructive elements and deep cracks. It is also the unnatural presentation of more or less corrected flaws and the internal vitality of an individual in whom an entire generation can recognize themselves – a generation strangely labeled X.