World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 55 - Laurent Impeduglia
In the Belgian Embassy in The Hague hangs a large painting in which the colors black, yellow and brown set the tone. You can see a few skulls, a spiraling smoke circle left, right beneath a cannon, top left a rabbit, asphalt tracks with the words Oh God and Amen and left of the center the text MADE IN LUIK (MADE IN LIEGE).
The artist, mother Flemish, father Sicilian, bears his name correctly. Impeduglia means in Sicilian ‘flounder’, literally ‘mix up the tassels’. He draws, paints and makes sculptures and installations.
Skulls, Batman and King Kong
His world oscillates between drawing, painting, sculpture and installations. In his work you can see elements of pop culture, alchemy and comic strips. There is a lot of self-mockery. You recognize his predecessors Jacques Charlier and Jacques Lizène. On his paintings you can see skulls and skeletons, palm trees and Batman, King Kong and sports cars, figures from computergames, falling boulders, smoking chimneys of factories, giant lego assemblies, dungeons with thin, tall towers and the elusive Jesus. It is replete with references to religion and death. The works have titles such as “Where are you, Jesus?”, “Table 3 with Sponge Bob and a futuristic portrait of my dog”, “Bananas Mountain” and “Post-neo-Christian Tableau”.
The art critic Julie Hanique wrote: ‘The work of Impeduglia is bright and generous, has no limits and all established values are addressed persistently and cheerfully. Art, work, money, religion etc. are collected in compositions which taste like the end of the world. In these works stability has been deliberately undermined by precarious balance, unchained elements or deep cracks. It is also the frank depiction of the more or less veiled cracks and inner vitality of an individual to which an entire generation , strangely enough designated as X, can identify.’ Impeduglia has for quite some time been part of the Liège underground collective Mycose. They made magazines and fanzines. A short time after they received an award in 2006 for alternative comics at the Angoulême Festival – Festival International de la bande Dessinée, they lifted up themselves.
In an interview with a creative site from Chicago, Laurent Impeduglia said to the interviewer, Bria: ‘It is a fact that I would not have been an artist without the death of my brother. I lost my whole frame of reference, part of me still remembers that time. His death forced me to cling on to other things and start a new life. The art gave me hope. I learned to start anew by reading several books and to take in influences from the 80s in the field of culture, video games and music. My father has always been very esoteric. He had books on the occult sciences where I was trying to get through. Then I discovered the alchemy and Jacques van Lennep’s book “Art and Alchemy”, which gave an explanation for my images.’
This led me to the work of Hieronymus Bosch, which is filled with alchemical symbols. In that way I started searching. Today I learn a lot with my girlfriend. She plays the role of my muse. She is very intelligent and patient. She takes me to the path of reason when I’m far away in my mind. She also does the traditional Usui Reiki and is inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk who brought Buddha’s messages to western culture.’
Humor and self-mockery
In his art and in Belgian art in general Laurent Impeduglia sees two things coming back: humor and self-mockery. ‘Speaking for myself: humor sometimes gets me out of desperation and gives me an escape from dark ideas. In my paintings you find a balance between joy and sadness, it’s a way to escape each time to the death. My work is an ongoing attempt to escape and a fight against death. With this idea, I work every day and that is why I work so much. I want to have any regrets. Nevertheless, I have to make a lot of paintings and many projects must be implemented absolutely.’
Laurent Impeduglia is succesful. He exhibited in Berlin, San Francisco, Paris, New York and Tokyo. Abroad he is better known than in Liège itself. He also teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Liège. He pays great attention to his students, advises them with the intention to inspire them at the start of a road of artistic adventure.