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Focus on Albert Pepermans

It is in the framework of his magnificent studio arranged in the manner of Japanese pavilions that the artist Albert Pepermans receives La peau de l’ours for an interview.

Back on 50 years of career with the King of Art on Paper.

His Career

Albert Pepermans, 70 years old today, began his career as an artist as a graphic design student at the Luca School of Arts of Brussels, but never felt he was in tune with the classes:

“I never managed to feel comfortable, the approach was far too aesthetic.”

When he left the school, Albert began numerous collaborations in parallel to his own artistic creations. This led him to work closely with the world of publishing and the press, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s, during which he multiplies partnerships. Notably, he’ll make illustrations for the French daily paper Libération and the Belgian magazine Humo.

It was during this period that Albert tried his hand at video and, in 1984, produced a video entitled Hollywood Fragment.

In this homage to the cinema of the 1950s, he painted over scenes played by the actors that had marked his youth, such as Gene Hackman, Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe:

With hindsight, I would describe this video as an ancestor of Photoshop.

He also worked with cultural institutes, such as the Théâtre (Brussels) and the Ancienne Belgique (Brussels).

Paradoxically, he became a professor at the Luca School of Arts in Ghent, where he met Greet, his wife, who he would marry 30 years later.

Some years after, in 2000, Albert was chosen as a guest artist for the Belgian Pavilion of the Universal Exhibition of Hanover.

His Work

In parallel to his collaborations, Albert Pepermans has ceaselessly perfected his technique and worked relentlessly to master Art on Paper. For him, creativity is nothing without the work that accompanies : it:

Creativity is not enough, you must work to achieve a quality result.

His drawings and paintings are inspired by the culture of the 50s and 60s. Albert draws his inspiration from comics, American cinema, rock and roll and pop art. He offers a figurative vision of this pop culture and a world overloaded with media symbols and images.

For his technique, he uses the materials of the manufacturing industry, such as printing ink and paper that dilutes its subjects into hazy shapes. To create the feeling of recurrent movement, Albert reproduces his motifs but his work never feels mechanical.

His Influences

When we ask him:

Who/what has influenced his career:

  • The impressionists, particularly the sketches of Matisse and Picasso and their work on paper.
  • Pop art and American culture from the 50s and 60s.

His latest exhibitions:

  • The Cy”>Cy Twombly retrospective at the Centre Pompidou
  • The video “Human Mask” by Pierre Huyghe exhibited this spring at the Copenhagen Contemporary. A video that profoundly moved him.

The artists that have inspired him:

An exhibition that changed his life:

Never stopping, Albert Pepermans brings us a work in his image, which humorously plays on symbols whilst expertly using paradox.

Both profound and light, brutal and tender, simple and sophisticated, Albert’s painting is like a piece of automatic writing in which the icons of pop culture melt into the paper like abstract elements.

Photos : Miles Fischler