12 jan. 2022Luan Lamberty: Leaving room for interpretation
Like most children, Luan Lamberty loved painting – the only difference being that he never really stopped. As a young boy, he was very inquisitive and devoured historical children’s novels to understand other people’s lives. He vowed to become an author and, indeed, telling stories is a big part of his artistic practice today.
From charcoal to oil paint
Age 10, Luan participated in a comics workshop at the Summerakademie, a creative summer school in Luxembourg, where he used charcoal and white pastel chalk to draw on wrapping paper. That moment really sparked Luan’s interest in art. He asked for drawing materials for his birthday, creating big monsters on wrapping paper. When his grandmother’s flat got renovated, he used all the leftover paper for his drawings.
On another birthday, he received some chalk pastels and created colourful portraits of animals and humans. Then, one day, Luan got his first box of oil paints. The smell of them and the endless possibilities they offered fascinated him. Back then, he painted in a very spontaneous way; he didn’t wait for the paint to dry and mixed the colours directly on the canvas.
Luan Lamberty, Untitled, 2021, Oil, acrylic, oil pastel on canvas, 165 x 197 cm
“The freer I feel, the more I paint”
After graduating from high school, Luan first studied on pedagogy in Germany, but then switched to studying fine art at the University of Arts Bremen (HFK) in 2013, where he enjoyed the greater autonomy the course offered. In fact, the freer he felt, the more he painted. Throughout his years at the HFK, he held workshops and interactive tours for teens at CopARTikel, the Städtische Galerie Delmenhorst’s art education initiative.
Luan’s figurative painting class, taught by professor Heike Kathi Barath, showed him how to look at art and stage exhibitions. He sees the class as his second home and family to this day. The discussions about art and life he had with his fellow students serve as a constant source of inspiration. Prompted by his professors who saw some of Nicole Eisenman’s style in his pieces, Luan also sought out the American artist’s Sketch for a Fountain at the Münster Kulturtage and an exhibition featuring her paintings in Vienna.
Luan Lamberty, Untitled, 2021, Oil on canvas, 60 x 50 cm
Room for interpretation
In the early days, Luan painted more figuratively and conveyed tangible stories. Now he leaves more room for interpretation, whilst still engaging with concrete issues and portraying specific situations. When he started work on a painting for his studies, he experimented with not finishing all the elements on the canvas: “Leaving things open to interpretation felt right and was more in line with my understanding of art. My way of looking at art and what I want to bring across in my work changed over the course of my studies as I saw more and more pieces.”
Just like society isn’t always black and white, Luan depicts people with different emotions in a single painting and portrays multiple situations at once. “There’s more than one reality”, Luan emphasises. The artist also enjoys interacting with exhibition visitors and is eager to hear their ideas and incorporate them into his work. At the opening days of the HFK, for instance, he staged a performance together with the visitors.
Luan Lamberty, Untitled, 2021, Oil on canvas, 90 x 70 cm
Figures and objects
Most of Luan’s large-scale paintings portray spaces reminiscent of kitchens, the place where people usually gather on social occasions. Here, there are etiquettes und unwritten rules to follow. How people interact with each other in this space and the resulting (mis)communication is what fascinates the artist.
Often, the spaces feature windows, which give the painting a certain openness. They make a space become an interior, because the viewer knows there is an outside world. Sometimes windows are merely implied, sometimes they are framed or feature transparent curtains. The artist works with a mixture of colours and contrasts to fit his aesthetic. He uses colour intuitively rather than symbolically and applies multiple layers so that the different tones shine through. Shadows also play a key role; in a single painting, a figure or an object may have a shadow and others may not. Also, the shadow may or may not fit the figure or object in terms of size or shape.
Luan Lamberty, Untitled, 2021, Acrylic, spray paint, oil stick and pencil on paper, 42 x 29,7 cm
A fusion of art and animation
Having studied animation films and sound under Ulrike Isenberg, Heike Kati Barath, Ezzat Nashashibi and Kilian Schwoon, Luan likes to combine art and stop motion in his work. In 2014, he staged a live installation with his colleague Emre Meydan at the Städtische Galerie in Delmenhorst. They used a process similar to that of the South-African artist William Kentridge uses, who repeatedly erases and redoes charcoal drawings in his animated films. In the exhibition Heike Kati Barath. Nun gut, wer bist du denn at the Städtische Galerie, the two artists drew with charcoal on the wall, took photos, then altered the image slightly and photographed it again. This went on for two days, after which they combined the photographs to create an animated film which was displayed on the wall. The charcoal remained on the floor until the end of the exhibition.
More recently, Luan created the animated film 947 – Grenzen about personal boundaries for Notruf Bremen and a film adaptation of a children’s book about intersexuality called Jill ist anders by Ursula von Rosen. The latter is designed to be screened in Luxembourgish primary schools and for educational purposes.
After eleven years in Germany, Luan now lives and works in Luxembourg. He was delighted to be invited to participate in the exhibition YLA – YOUNG LUXEMBOURGISH ARTISTS at the Valerius Gallery in summer of 2021. “It was a great opportunity to connect with other young local artists and present the work I created during the pandemic, when most of my projects had to be postponed or cancelled,” notes Luan. Despite the ongoing pandemic, Luan already has a number of exhibitions planned for 2022.