Serge Largot

1929 - 2019

Died in Grandpré (FR), born in Brugge (BE).

Working under the pseudonym Serge Largot, the poet and artist Ernest Aerts (1929-2019) developed a colour theory over the years in various phases, which he strived to use daily in what he called “luminous painting”. Largot sought to reveal the ineffable essence of existence by relentlessly using lyrical abstraction, intensely luminous colours, ethereal elements, and references to all things spiritual or “numinous”. In 1965, author and art critic Paul De Vree noted in Largot’s practice a similarity to Jef Verheyen’s work: "Serge Largot’s vocabulary is rooted in antithesis, contrast, and conflict, and therefore relates to Jef Verheyen". Unlike Jef Verheyen's oeuvre, however, "the Largot effect" as Paul De Vree called it, seems to have slipped between the cracks of history.

From the depths of a proverbial shadow, Serge Largot was not only engaged in a thorough reflection on reality through the prism of painting, the various initiatives he undertook also bear witness to his great urge to shape the world of tomorrow. This self-proclaimed “peintre maudit” repeatedly set himself up as a shining example for both the general public and fellow artists. Following his dissatisfaction with the G58 group, he founded Onderaards (1962-1967), a collective in which Fred Bervoets, Jan Diels, Wybrand Ganzevoort, and Wannes Van De Velde participated. He was also a co-founder of the international movement Lumen Numen (1967-1972), whose mission was to resist producing what they saw as “soulless avant-garde clutter” and who, mindful of their name, strived to reach “pure light”. Mark Meekers, Kari Bert, Ben Koelman, Roger Wouters, and Gilberte De Leger were all involved in Lumen Numen. Through both groups, Serge Largot held countless exhibitions and recorded his views and ideas in various publications. In 1968, Largot became the chairman of the Vrije Aktie Groep Antwerpen (V.A.G.A.), which advocated for social solidarity and better quality of life through several interventions in Antwerp’s city center. The collective contributed to the transformation of the Royal Palace in Antwerp, which became the I.C.C., the International Cultural Centre. As a disruptive thinker, Largot had a profound social commitment; he contested excessively bureaucratic institutions and fought for greater transparency.

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