Goodness Uncorrupted

"I forgot one thing, the abuse of teddy bears"

Peter Lautrop, an A3-size note sent to me in 2010.
The yellow of the original is of a warm intensity the camera cannot capture.

Peter Lautrop sent me a thank you note following one of our discussions in 2010 while he was preparing a book on his Teddy Bear Liberation Army, which we have covered here and here, when a new generation of teddy bears took on the banner in Minsk, Belarus. Louise Thrane Jensen drew his life from the very beginning in 1944 for the book Tegnere Tegner Tegnere.

Writing this is the sad occasion of Peter's passing away on Saturday.

His passing makes the presence of his colossal oeuvre all the more compelling. Simple yet monumental in every line. Take the thank you note. It is drawn to the brim of the paper he had at hand to a degree that he had to tape in the words afterwards.

We had been talking about his life's work already done and here was a fresh new exemplar that went against all definitions we had just reached. This was Peter. He would of course break the mold of any definition, which in this instance was evil never showing its face in its work. Aggressive teeth are everywhere, but in this instance we have the pretense of benevolence confronting us and all the more dangerous for taking on the mask of innocence, hiding behind it in the very middle of the picture plane. The one is immovable while pressing out the life of the little one that is all movement.

Peter drew good and evil in a century, which insisted to have outgrown both notions. Especially goodness. Any assumption of it having ever existed finally went down in the trenches of WW1, it would be said scathingly by masters such as Georg Grosz. Peter drew direct inspiration from them, just as he saw the absurdity and intensity of life in the poster size language of Tomi Ungerer.

He saw the world in the two dimensions of the picture plane, he said, and I discovered when listening to music while writing about him that the darkest of death metal has no resonance in his work. His musical equivalent is Bach. The composition of a strong, analytical mind, deftly and constantly permuting every known piece of imagery into fresh pain.

Even the Apocalypse will lose its sting when being repeated and Peter was cutting and analytical in keeping the struggle new. But goodness was never a prop in his work. It was the center of his artistic curiosity how it comes to be that whole beings of goodness remains complete and unsoiled, resisting his every attempt to transform them. Goodness cannot be corrupted and is revolutionary by its mere existence, doing its own thing.

A deep and heartfelt thank you Peter for all that you gave us. We shall miss your uncorrupted strong voice in person as in new works from your hand. We shall be in need of your new liberation army. Always.

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