Born in Reims, Champagne, France. Studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Reims (1972-77) and Ecole National Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris (1977-79).
Initially a painter, he worked with chalk, oxides, ash on rough canvas tarpaulins mounted on rudimentary stretchers, transforming their window motif into a cross. This form then developed into a bas-relief and Lapie's materials evolved: sheet metal, cement and charred wood for In Case of War (1992, Champagne-Ardenne); cement, paint and concrete reinforcement bars for War Game, a public commission that was censored in 1995.
From the patent brutality of this experience – and following a creative visit to the Amazon Forest – Lapie moved on directly to producing monumental sculptures, shaping figures in rough-hewn, fire-blackened timber. Some were created in the Champagne region, which witnessed bloody fighting during World War I, and were erected in various locations around the world:
- Fort 61 in the Sculpture Park at Echigo Tsumari, Japan;
- The Salomon Foundation, Alex, France;
- The Musee des Beaux Arts de Reims, France;
- The Crow's Nest, Southern Alberta, Canada;
- The stone figures of In Path of the Sun and the Moon at Jaipur, India;
- Le pupitre des Etoiles in cast-iron in the Parc de Sceaux near Paris;
- And a quantity of works in priate collections in Europe and United States.
Christian Lapie's ouevre probes individual and collective memory. Specific history-charged sites inspire his installations of spectral figures. Wherever they stand, whatever the continent, the powerful and monumental figures without arms or facial features question and unsettle. As the critic Philippe Piguet underlines, «The duty to remeber to which they allude is a civic, quite simple human, duty.»