It was my father’s photographic expression that tought me how to see. My work with granite and black diabase is connected to his black and white photography, to my childhood. Light travelling on forms, edges and ridges cutting the light, darkening the next plane, generating varying intensities of grey, all the way to black. As a photography, a sculpture is also the product of careful construction (appraising the light, studying the subject, understanding its composition) ; drawing and the positioning of volume in space are fundamentals.
I am a sculptor of the monumental, but it is in small-scale sculptures, that I search for answers and find them.
I love going to quarries to find my stones. These quarries are extraordinary, some of them feel like cathedrals. Whether in Brittany, in Sweden or anywhere else, they make for spellbinding, captivating universes ; stones, volumes, textures, such wonders…Everything is possible, reality becomes unreal, unreality turns into reality.
Nature’s silence and music give way to the deafening noise of human activity, of machines able to lift stones weighing upward of 20 tonnes, pneumatic drills, black powder blasts used to breach the quarry frontline, echoing and bouncing around the walls of the quarry.
Weight, volume, mass… The hefting and handling of stone is of primordial importance – whether working on a small or a monumental scale. A sculpture’s visual balance and harmony is important in and of itself but also in view of its transport and installation. Hefting and handling stones and sculptures relies entirely on one’s ability to size them up with great precision.
Whatever the device being used to move a piece – a wooden broomstick, a crowbar, a jack, a hoist or a crane – thoughtfulness, communication and calm are of absolute necessity. Any form of improvisation is synonymous with danger. If a sculpture collides with a hard obstacle, it will break. Today, I am in full command of my techniques and I am thus able to detach myself from them, to dispense with questions that have become superfluous; such is the journey of a sculptor.
I like granite because it resists me. My work involves rough physical confrontation with the material. Granites are hard, deep, powerful. The slightest relief catches the light. Hence the need to pare things down to their very essence.
I like rigour to discipline emotion.
Granites are marvellously suited to a practice that focuses on texture. Hence the contrast between rough surfaces and soft volumes, highlighting the full power, strength and sensuality that I seek to convey in my sculptures. These fabulous materials afford great possibilities of expression and readability
As a sculptor, I need to evolve, to attempt things. Sculpture as I practise requires time, as well as major technical and financial means. I therefore work at a rather slow pace, which suits me as it allows time for reflection and unhurried maturation.
Sometimes, I begin work on a stone very quickly because its volume or its shape urgently call out
to me. But each of my sculptures has its origins in the discovery of the stone, in preparatory sketches and in oftentimes nocturnal thinking. There is no established order to any of this.
The sculpture I have in mind governs my choice of stone. It is important to let oneself be led.
My choice of stone will influence the sculpture. It is important to let oneself be led.
It is also important to let oneself be led by the accidents and serendipities of one’s material.
My sculpture requires minimal gesture. Simplicity is foremost in my thoughts, I must neither waste nor betray my material.
For rough surfaces, the gesture must be strong and precise, so as to avoid having to repeat it and tools scarring the surface, spoiling its power and its beauty. This requires control and confidence. The reward lies in witnessing light bringing to life rough surfaces that suddenly manifest their full depth and strength. With polished surfaces, the preparatory work carried out to draw out the shape reveals light travelling from one volume to the next, irisation and smooth shadows. The shape is assessed by hand, one’s fingers sensing the slightest of imperfections.
First and foremost, the shape must be perfectly drawn out. Polishing then amounts to the mere, methodical use of ever finer abrasives. This necessary, lengthy process provides time to think.
My sculpture is highly tactile, it is to be looked at using not only one’s eyes, but also one’s hands.