The sculpture « Eve » [*1](whose title is an hommage to Giliberthus, the sculptor of the Autun cathedral) looks like a body lying, spread out, headfirst. In total suspension, she rests only on a few touching points, on her knees and mostly resting on void. Her general silhouette draws a kind of fragmented arch. This sculpture is the latest stage of my work spanning across the last ten years.

I have often thought about this frescoe in Tutankhamun’s tomb representing Noût, goddess of the celestial vault, a feminine figure which describes an arc overhanging and embracing men, animals and things. This feeling of the arch may come from her in my sculpture.

It’s impossible to put into words what we have tried to do in a plastic work. I wouldn’t try to. But sometimes I have the feeling that the shape I was working on was like a tear, a gap in this space where we live, and that we ignore. The spatial shape and the inflicted tear create a totally abstract place where everything lies.
To build a shape which looks like a human body in this totally unknown three dimentional space is a strange enterprise and its fruits are always fragments, directions taken, abandoned, then re-used again. That’s probably why I started this sculpture from the void. I used wax (which contrary to clay doesn’t need a frame), and added progressive pieces, covering the void with the wax leaf, without following a pre-established process, progressing as a blind among the endless combinations of space.

My idea of sculpture is a bit particular, it must not be totally an incarnation and needs to have the immateriality inherent to drawing. I believe I have always tended to anihilate some of sculpture fundamental principles: physical mass and gravity. I can only see the life of shapes when they break their natural links and seem to spring out of space. At a certain stage, the sculpture had no legs and it still has neither arms nor head : this idea of completing is something I prefer to bypass, as long as the idea of gravity.

The true reason for this is probably this ancient sculptor dream which requires the modelling of light and shade to be the only master, the only guide to decide where the shape begins and where it ends.Which means that, finally, human figuration comes out as a “surprise”. And it’s true that this sculpture is made out of fragments which progressively fit into each other to make a body, without anthropomorphic proportions to precede the work. The human representation is extremely important to me – Art is about ourselves – but I can only conceive it as something which springs out and surprises me.

I would now like to look back on a few years to evoke my personal path. I started with drawing, in a chronological but absolute way too, for if I had to give a brief definition of myself, I would say drawing is the heart of my work.

[*2]This drawing, of quite big proportions, which includes a chain of characters, has been important to me. I think I was trying to create a kind of uninterrupted surface modelling. Maybe the equivalent of a fugue in music. A way of working only on the density of the chiaro-oscuro, in a constant way. It means modeling, almost modulating. I have always drawn that way, in a sort of space continuum which never stops starting again, going on, and absolutely rejects any kind of finality, line, end.

My work in drawing and painting went on with the theme of leaning figures [*3](they are falling or rising, an ambiguity which may have a meaning I ignore). When I see them again I almost marvel at the similitude in themes with what I am currently working on in sculpture.There was an important element to me: the intensity of the relationship to the ground, the soil. It’s also a connection with falling down and rising, a complex connection to gravity. As for the figure itself, because it was horizontal, it became a whole landscape, with its bumps, its mountains, its holes.

I wish to spend time on the notion of series. As you may see, my work is made of series and there are many ways of defining a series. There are series by Francis Bacon, who thought that reading images as a series had a meaning. And there are many contemporary artists who develop a concept through series and create a progression. To me a series is something else. When I get back to a theme I have already worked on, it is not to do another sculpture, it is to do the first again. Insatisfaction with the result creates the phenomenon.What creates the series is in fact different trials pointing to the same aim. The series takes shape by itself because the starting original vision is constantly asking for readjustment.

I also worked on the theme of a “Figure on a ladder”[*4]. There too was a dialogue with gravity. I considered the character as a sculpted and empty shell which was born out of the void and went back to it. This shell could be completed or incompleted, the geometry of space decided. I started with a fragment and went on, in the sense of the figure, and it progressed or stopped and returned to nothingness. I articulated the plans to build up my structure, a very Cezannien principle, which lead me straight to sculpture.

For me the big synthesis has been sculpture. I didn’t realise that in painting, drawing, I had been already sculpting for a long time. At the beginning I took up the theme of leaning bodies but almost like bas-reliefs.The head and the shoulders were only a shell suspended in space. [*5]

Very quickly I became obsessed with the theme of this suspended woman I have already spoken of, and almost all my work got organized around this vision [*6], as it is now and will probably be for a long time.

Often these sculptures appear like fragments… I don’t differenciate between fragments and totality. I am not looking for the fragment but I don’t refuse totality. And I deeply hope that totality appears as a fragment and fragment as totality.

But there is another more important question behind this. It seems to be nothing, but I think it is fundamental : classical sculpture such as Rodin, even Picasso or Brancusi practised it, always started with setting the big masses, the great lines of the work to come; then they refined from big plans to smaller ones. As Bourdelle would have said : « It’s pure logic « . And they are right, it’s the most logical way. The problem is that this logic doesn’t suit me for a very simple reason : if you define the big masses first, the drawing is almost settled. And what I look for is precisely the drawing, and the drawing I don’t know it at the beginning, I try to discover it. I therefore never start from totality to go to the fragment, but from the piece which, adjusted to other pieces, finally creates a connection which will induce a kind of ephemeral totality. Totality,which I had obviously a kind of preconception at the start. It’s very close to drawing : you start from the blank page. Here I start from the void which is the basis of everything and inside this void, without any sketch, I walk around the shape, I measure it without knowing where it will lead me. I break it up most of the time, until an articulation of the volumes comes to a meaning. And this « meaning » is drawing itself.

I would like to conclude with evoking what is the root of my whole work, I would say it’s the tool which made me progress, without which I don’t even know what is a shape : it is modelling.

A few days before his passing away, Degas, already on his death bed, grabs violently the arm of a young woman, pulls up furiously her sleeve and looks very carefully at her arm, bathed in light. What Degas was looking at for the last time with such passion was the modelling.

I think each artist has his own way of feeling space, either by structure, arabesque, or plans, it’s endlless. Some are lucky enough to have a large scale of possibilities, others have not. I became aware that my approach to space is always in surface-modelling. And I find here, probably, what I told you about drawing : what obsesses me is the idea of an endless surface-modelling, an infinite modulation, and sculpture is totally in phase with this principle. Surface-modelling is the real creator of light and shade and is only a tense skin on the huge emptiness of space, with its fragility and power.


Pierre-Edouard sculpture
Pierre-Edouard drawing
Pierre-Edouard painting
Pierre-Edouard pastel
Pierre-Edouard sculpture
Pierre-Edouard sculpture