The Bowls of Laurent Reypens

 

Laurent Reypens has always been absorbed by the phenomenon of the bowl, right from the very start of his artistic career. He is fascinated by the stillness and simplicity of still life. No, what excites Laurent Reypens is the contemplative calm of everyday things. He always portrays the same Royal Boch bowl with a shape as honest as it is universal: hemispherical, standing on a small base.

What does Laurent Reypens do with this bowl? He places it on his canvases in many different variations, in series. The bowl is his signature. It is not about the bowl, just as in a poem it is not about the letters but about what they express through the order in which they appear. The groupings are extremely varied and usually, but not always, give a feeling of calm. At times you have the uncomfortable feeling that the bowls are coming toward you, that they are using their mass to impose their presence. On these occasions they appear to be more than just a palette of sublime light and colour gradations. From them you can read the artist’s mood: a canvas of black bowls will have been painted in a different “mood” to one with white bowls, greatly softened by a captivating sfumato...What stands out is the exclusive use of the underside, which contains greater graphic richness thanks to the narrower line of the base and which confirms the negation of the object as a utensil. Laurent Reypens paints an endless variation of curves and submerges himself fully in the power of repetition, which gives his work a passionate dynamic and makes it as abstract as possible.

Thus the work of Laurent Reypens has evolved from a reduced form of still life to a highly linear and pictorial composition, based on one object used in repetition to create extraordinarily fascinating art.

 

August 2008

Jan Walgrave, Honorary Curator of the Provincial museums Antwerp