Sculpture (3)

Modern sculpture, in recent times, like many other artistic branches also sought to experiment new techniques, forms and dimensions. Sometimes it was a successful experiment, sometimes less so. The difficulty lies on the purpose given to the discipline itself; do we want to concretize reality into something more beautiful or do we wish to release our imagination, our fantasy? In theory, both approaches are possible, however in practice, sculpture is closer to the concrete reality of the world than to a reality that is purely imagined. Thus, what is the future of sculpture? Due to the very magical influence of sculpture, the use of excessively eccentric, disharmonious forms should definitely be avoided in this field. Even if most sculptors seem to ignore it, the effect of this magical influence is real and if we talk about the sculpture of the future, we cannot afford to disregard this when we strive for a form of evolution and progress.

Therefore, should we recommend or exclude certain forms? Some forms perhaps, but above all, it is the principle of movement that needs to be reintroduced into sculpture. What do we mean by movement? It is true that sculpture is seemingly very far from this principle, as sculptures are invariably immobile, static. Yet, it is the challenge of this artistic field’s future. How can we achieve this? It obliges us to see sculpture literally with another eye, a fluid one, looking beyond appearances. In some ways, we can say that sculpture is a frozen, cooled form of movement. Sculpture is a movement “captured” that has become immobile but that is paradoxically still deeply imbued with what gave birth to it. In other words, what gave birth to the movement, which then sets in the sculpture, is a vision, a vision of something that is alive and moves. That is the great paradox, which lives inside this artistic discipline, the idea of movement, inherent to life.

Before starting to sculpt, the true sculptor is not seeing an image from the outside like the painter, but he is observing an aspect of life in motion from the inside. The life linked to the image, as observed by the painter, is then translated by means of color. In the case of the sculptor, this life is moving, it starts somewhere and goes in some direction, to be captured in the middle of this movement and brought to an immobilization in the form of a sculpture. That is why inside a sculpture, we still find the initial movement, even if it has become static. Thus, because movement gave birth to the sculpture, to this form, it cannot be dissociated from it, it remains linked to it.

If you look at sculpture over the last 100 years, or even 150 years, this movement began to decline. Sculptors gradually began to see their subjects of inspiration more and more with a static eye, an overly fixed eye. Rather than internally capturing the movement that could give rise to their sculptures, they sought more and more to copy existing forms, images outside of themselves, which were themselves already removed from their original movement and frozen in the matter. Sculpture has become, in a way, doubly static. It has for more than a century too often sought to give a form to something that already had one, which may be allowed for painting, where colors are intended to give back life to the partly fixed external image. But sculpture does not work on the principle of color but rather on form. Therefore, it needs movement if it wants to give life to its works, and this movement cannot be born from the images of purely external forms.

To be able to carve a tree, the carver does not look so much at its form or its colors; he looks at its movement. He looks at the direction of its growth upward or across. He looks at the movement of the season that surrounds the tree, spring, summer, fall or even winter. He observes its strength or its flexibility or its static side, or just the thousand movements of its little branches…

The sculpture of the future should let go of the external images it has been sculpting for the last century and a half, which has given rise to sculptures that are too dense, too material, and lifeless. Sculptures have become objects, often immense but not very inspiring. They only raise questions, purely intellectual, about their raison d’être, about what lies behind them or what they can be used for. In spite of that, many modern sculptors will say that they had nothing special in mind when sculpting their figures, that everything happened spontaneously. Nevertheless, that means nothing and rather indicates a lack of depth and real knowledge on the part of the artist.

The movement we are talking about in this context, is a movement that comes from above, from the world of the soul and the spirit. This inner, spiritual movement gives meaning to all that exists and to all that is created. It is this invisible movement that needs to be captured, seized in a sculpture, and the ancient artists still knew how to do this. That movement shows that everything is Divine and that if you want to make something beautiful, uplifting and lasting on Earth, you have to direct your gaze upwards. The sculpture of the future should once again concretize, make visible what is invisible to the naked eye, and yet so very real. The movement of a sculpture is the marriage between the sculptor’s love for what is high, Divine and the hand that caresses the material to give it the form corresponding to that heart’s impulse. In the middle is the child, the result of this marriage, which is the work, the sculpture.

This work embodies a Divine idea, which came to the artist in the form of an inspiration from above, which crossed his soul and his heart before becoming visible. This great movement from above to below, including the inspiration as well as the artist and his tools, is Divine love concretized in matter. It is this type of love that the world needs to feel again when looking at sculptures, rather than just a question mark. It is this love that gives all the answers in a single moment or that still reveals itself long after the sculpture has been viewed, in the observer’s consciousness. The artistic movement linked to the real sculpture is a Divine idea incarnated and not only a purely human fantasy made visible, palpable. As the latter one rapidly creates a break in the consciousness of the observer, while the real sculpture remains with us, perhaps for eternity.