The latest exhibition by Bangkok-based, French artist, Val, with her monumental bronze sculptures pays homage to the powerful notion of existence, or presence. With over 30 pieces on show, the collection of contemporary sculptures continues Val’s narrative on the inspiration behind her art. Life and all its expressions find a way into her work as she carefully crafts her bronzes into pieces of sculptural poetry. Val has successfully injected a lightness of being into a metal known for its density thus creating a liberating balance between the material she works with and the emotions she feels.
Eliteror is pleased to have capture some of her thoughts below, prior to her exibition on 10th October 2014.
What are your thoughts on this exhibition ‘Presence’ ?
With Chris and Frédéric, we have been preparing this solo exhibition for the last two years. While working for this event, I have also been reading and writing a lot, trying to figure out what I was looking for, what I was trying to represent in my work. Since the very beginning, I have been creating architectures with human beings, always listening to my instinct as an inner music telling me what to do. These years of sculpting, thinking, reading, exchanging opinions brought me the very strong feeling of the presence of the world, the presence of the hope in the human destiny, the presence of a sacred personal balance one may meet, sometimes, while shuttling in life. I feel this balance while trying to represent it.
What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic work or career ?
Some very few and very important encounters with people who will bring you confidence and take you further, some very specific events like this solo exhibition with the RedSea Gallery, some very important projects which take you naturally to the following step.
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Very easy question, I work with two heaters, a knife and 4 different sizes of modeling tools (I don’t know the name in English but here is the picture)
What qualities do you look for in people you work with, or other artists?
Speaking about my studio, and with my team, we all work in a large open space, I was using the words “a space for inner concentration”. Meaning that whatever the noise surrounding us, and metal working brings a loud noise, each one is concentrated on what he does. If one of us is nervous for whatever reason and of course it happens sometimes, I feel the electricity in the air and it can be very disturbing.
Regarding my team working with me, I could say “we work powerfully in peace” which means that every one of us has an ability to concentrate, to work hard, to give attention to details, to like what he does, generally speaking is respectful and nice to the others.
For other artists, they are normal human beings and you can like the work and not the man or the woman and vice et versa, I will be friends with artists for their human qualities and if I admire their work fantastic.
Which is more important : creativity or efficiency ?
Definitely the rigor of the mind in the creative process. If I had in mind an objective of efficiency, I would feel losing the essence of my work. Sculpture takes time to come to life, it needs patience, work, an ability to listen to the vibrations coming through the material and the creation.
Creativity without a rigorous work is very little thing, sculpting is an everlasting process, by definition you search knowing that you will never arrive, it really doesn’t matter, I feel alive while sculpting, I keep searching each time deeper and further in my soul and emotions to intent to bring life in my works.
Can you describe how you approach bringing the elements to life, and how do you know when an art piece is finished?
Many times, when I start a new piece, I have no idea where I am heading to, I start curving some iron sticks, weald them together, at one moment I feel I have something in my hand, I start working with the wax to give shape to my work in process and then I listen to my intuition. More than bringing the elements to life, I feel driven by the elements and I bring all my concentration in listening to the vibration of the elements and being attentive to my intuition, I let the life in the elements comes out and express itself.
Your question regarding the moment a piece is finished is very relevant, concentrating on listening, at one moment you feel this is it, you reach the point where the balance in the piece is at its maximum, going further may create a disruption in this balance so fragile and so magical when you feel it.
When I was speaking of listening the vibration, I have this obsession of finding the correct balance, this point in balance is so fragile that once you get it, it brings an amazing strength. When I feel this balance, I carefully stop and all my challenge will then be to protect this fragile balance during the whole process of bronze casting.
Val’s stunning new sculptures will be on display during her exhibition in the gallery from Friday 10th October through Sunday 2nd November.