Born in 1943 - France
Beppo was born in Aix-en-Provence in 1943. His true name is Jean Laugier, and Beppo was given to him as a nickname by one of his secondary school teachers, for a reason that nobody remembers today. This nickname got imme-diately successful among his friends, so much that it became his artistic patronymic.
Once his secondary education wrapped up, he enters the Toulon Fine Arts in 1962, then, encouraged by his professor Victor Nicolas, he gets into the National School of Fine Arts in Paris in 1964. In 1970 he returns to Draguignan and, lacking money, gives up the traditional sculpture materials and instead starts using steels sheet and metal that he gets from a friend’s garage, which also becomes his workshop.
He makes friends with César and Albert Féraud and assists the latter in 1971 in the realization of a monumental sculp-ture intended to the Youth and Sports House in Draguignan. He definitely gives up the figurative art, works again with Albert Féraud on some monuments and above all visits regularly his workshop in Bagneux. This is where he gets ac-quainted with Jean-Pierre Rives, then a retired rugby player and a beginner sculptor.
One of Beppo’s paradoxes is that having followed one of the most academic curriculum, he practices a sculpture opposite to what he was taught. During his career or his apprenticeship he has worked with stone, wood, clay. His orientation towards the use of metal was not only dictated to him by the low cost of recycled metals and the fashion of the 70s for these same metals. For him, the metal and especially the steel presents the particularity to be “light” and to allow the manipulation of big formats to a single man.
The search for lightness must by the way be placed at the centre of Beppo’s work. In the material he uses as much as in the result he shapes. “All the subtlety of the sculpture it is to make its weight be forgotten”. But lightness also means simplicity, the obviousness with which the lines are just “right”. Under this angle, Beppo’s elegance is then to make up 40 years of work as an apparent ease.
Starting small - Porter Contemporary, New York City, NY
Galerie Le Hangart, Draguignan
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