Leïla Couradin, curator and art critic
The fruit of a sensitive curiosity for natural geological, astronomical, and biological phenomena, the bronze pieces of Jean-Christophe Couradin seem as if they have always existed. Similar to fossils, meteorites, or shells obeying only the laws of nature, these sculptures appear as if foreign to the work of the hand. This may be due to the desire of the artist—whose first pieces were in wood—to follow the veins of that living material, for fear of endowing it with an overly manufactured geometric form. The sculptures’ curves and edges evoke landscapes made of ridges, mountains, and plains, inviting viewers to travel. If the metaphor reminds me of the familiar panorama of my childhood in the Alps, it is equally possible to imagine the unknown reliefs of distant planets, such as Aurorae Sinus, one of the phantom seas of Mars, the sinuous Baltis Vallis of Venus, or the icy rings of Saturn. Or perhaps, below the earth’s surface, descending towards the abyss of an equally mysterious underwater world, alongside coral reefs, viewers may be reminded of the majestic flight of a manta ray, the shadow of a century-old shell, or the calm and graceful movement of the tail fin of a blue whale.
Between the cosmos, the terrestrial universe, and the underwater depths, Jean-Christophe Couradin’s sculptures evoke at once mythology and literary fantasy worlds, producing the impression that is as both dizzying as it is calming of the extension of time: all that has been and all that will be.
The colours of the patinas, deep and iridescent, catch the eye, plunging the viewer into a hypnotic journey through multiple worlds. Whether an allusion to the ochre earth of Australia, the saffron-coloured sands of Africa, the contours of the seabed off the coast of Antarctica, or the turquoise beaches of Oceania, they too fervently summon the imagination.
Jean-Christophe Couradin’s works also take viewers on a journey through art history, redolent of both the pared down lines of a Brancusi—a figurehead of Modernist sculpture whose tremendously avant-garde pieces paved the way towards a more complete form of abstraction—as the sinuous and complex forms of a Tony Cragg and New British Sculpture. The haptic experience induced by the curves and edges of the works is gradually transformed into a veritable tactile sensation, the source of an eminently personal artistic emotion.
The journey continues... Towards the inner self…