Luc Lapraye

artist Luc Lapraye
Self-Portrait by Luc Lapraye

Luc’s work has all the qualities of the philosopher, his sculptures dominating a space with the precision of an architect, along with his observations of physics.  His influences could be his first career as an engineer combined with his political satire.  Although when I ask him why he chose engineering as his first career choice, he tells me about how his grandfather was a researcher who created infernal machines in search of perpetual motion, and his father’s technical abilities in metal work.  It appears they additionally influenced and impacted the dormant artist within Luc over the years.  The installation artwork ‘Starofvitruvian’ an octagon-shaped sculpture in cor-ten steel, with 10 sides, or the ‘Dandelion’ a sphere shaped artwork, created  with 150 recycled bicycle wheels, emphasising the fragility of this plant as the seed heads cling in a delicate balance in a precise geometrical circular shape.  He created this in order to sensitise the public to respond to the importance of protecting our beautiful planet, he explains.  Luc’s series of giant artworks of ‘Vanity’ the child of mother, a mutant half spider, made of cor-ten steel or recovered scaffolding tubes, could almost be a take on Louise Bourgeois’s famous spider Maman.

Dandelion by Luc Lapraye
Child by Luc Lapraye
artwork by Luc Lapraye
Platon Colomn by Luc Lapraye

His recent series of the diptychs,‘TheSquareMeter’ have a Manichaeism view of the art world, as Luc tells me.  Manichaeism is an ancient belief going back to Persia, founded by the Iranian prophet Mani, as far back as 216-274 AD.  Based on two different concepts that exist between good and evil.  This work confronts the art market, ‘Art Market’ painted in black and ‘Art History’ in white.  It challenges the ever widening gab between art and the art market.  As a fresco it starts with the first painting 1 €/m2, representing that art must be accessible to all, along the economic curve until it reaches 1,000,000,000 €/m2 the final painting representing the Art Market.  A subject that Banksy addressed with his shredded artwork during a Sothebys auction.

artwork Luc Lapraye
TheSquareMeter by Luc Lapraye
artwork by Luc Lapraye
Art History & Art Market by Luc Lapraye

Luc was born in Burgundy France, on the 05/05/1955 at 5am; these numbers play a significant part in his life, he tells me and or multiples of five.  As a boy at school, he was only good at one subject, technical drawing but didn’t consider himself artistic.  His passion for art grew over time, he would spend his two hour lunch break at the self-service book store, sitting on the floor, whilst flicking through contemporary art magazines and art books.  After 35 years as an engineer, Luc took the plunge and decided to change his professional life, he wanted to stay alive, he exclaims.  Describing retirement as the “anti-chamber of Death”  At the age of 55 in 2010, he started studying History of Art at the Louvre, starting from the Renaissance all the way through to our current contemporary art.  He additionally took courses at the Drouot Formation with tutorials from art professionals such as art dealers, gallerists, auction houses, critics and curators. “I wanted to express myself through art and leave a trace of my passage on earth” he explains.  This idea is represented in a series of black and white paintings titled ‘To Die Once Yes, to Die Twice No’ “What I mean by twice, is to die of oblivion” Luc emphasises.

artwork by Luc Lapraye
Platon Colonm by Luc Lapraye
artwork by Luc Lapraye
Platon Colonm by Luc Lapraye

In the ‘1000 years / 1000 painters series’, the artist revisits art history by paying homage to the masters of the second millennium.  He appropriates 5000 famous paintings which he studied on this subject and creates 5000 new ones in a large format of 7×4 m for example  “The Great Wave of Kanagawa” by Hokusai.  His sculpture, made of No-Entry signs, ‘Platon Colonm, Prohibited’ which he describes as confirming its increase in our modern society.  Luc references Covid-19 the viral crisis which is currently affecting the whole planet; it is important to keep certain things prohibited, he explains, for instance banning people from going out to avoid infecting each other.  “As an artist I can only claim that I have ideas, the realisation of the artwork is sometimes made by another craftsmen, industrialist or artist”.  He claims to have no particular style, although his style is evident, as a conceptual artist.

artwork by Luc Lapraye
The Kanagawa wave Hokusai by Luc Lapraye
artwork by Luc Lapraye
Platon Colomn by Luc Lapraye

Then he recalls the number five again, expressing the five stages to his creative process: the first the furtive idea that germinates in his mind; the second phase his illustration or sketch of the idea on A4 paper; the third is the creation of a 1/10 scale model of the concept; the fourth a computer animated model of the sculpture; and his last the creation and manufacture of the artwork and placement in a public space, where there is the highest visibility for the audience to experience the artwork.  His collections of work have been exhibited with a solo show at Gabrielle Maubrie Gallery in Paris titled ‘Loi Carrez’.  His next show was in 2016, ‘TheSquareMeter’ at the Laure Roynette Gallery Paris.  He then exhibited at the Town Hall of the third arrondissement of Paris, followed by his exhibition of ‘Vanity’ at the Port Tonic Art Centre at the Gulf of St Tropez.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Artwork by Luc Lapraye
Starofvitruvian by Luc Lapraye

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