Tribute to George Jeanclos - Clay and bronze / Exhibition - Galerie Capazza, Nançay, France

Tribute to George Jeanclos - Clay and bronze

Georges Jeanclos (1933-1997) is one of France’s great twentieth-century sculptors. His œuvre is rooted in the traumatic events of the Second World War. To escape the round-ups that threatened French Jews, his family was forced to hide in the woods ; Jeanclos, barely ten at the time, had several close brushes with death. When the country was liberated, he saw the corpses of former collaborationists strung up from lampposts ; shortly thereafter, he discovered the skeletal bodies of camp survivors. Decades later, Jeanclos would respond to these seminal events : not by locking himself away in his own experience but by opening up to universality and paying attention to all forms of suffering, past and present ; not by representing horror, but by finding within himself the strength to create beauty.

Jeanclos’ choice medium was clay. He transformed it into thin sheets with which he then shaped human figures. Simultaneously children and adults, men and women, their faces are almost identical. Some are dormeurs resting beneath a coverlet of clay ; others are hidden within urns bearing Hebrew letters drawn from the Kaddish; others are boat travellers bound for the Beyond; still others are kamakuras, meditating bonzes lost in contemplation of the soul’s gardens. To all these, Jeanclos would later add Pietas, amorous Adams and Eves, couples tenderly grazing or stroking one another other. His images reveal both the undeniable weakness of human beings and the invincible strengh of love ; by the simple fact of their existence, they help us to live.

The present show consists of some sixty works in clay and bronze, representing all the periods of Jeanclos’ career. (Tzvetan Todorov)

19 March - 26 June 2011
Galerie Capazza / Nançay / France

Exhibition space: Grenier de Villâtre, 18330 Nançay, France
T.: +33.(0)2.48.51.80.22 / contact@capazza-galerie.com / http://www.galerie-capazza.com/

Capazza Gallery, a superbly restored place of historic interest (from the XVIIth century), connected with the castle of Nançay, is located in the heart of the Sologne, about 90 minutes from Paris and close to the Loire Valley. In exceptional surroundings of 2000 m², you can admire the works of 80 artists with international reputation. These artist represent contemporary art in the most important fields of Fine Arts.

Georges Jeanclos' profile - View his works

Georges Jeanclos

Georges Jeanclos' profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View his works

The passionate and powerful figurative sculpture of the late Georges Jeanclos evokes emotion through a mastery of materials. Anguished and full of pathos, the works have an immediate and provocative poignancy. Their faces and postures show an extraordinary sense of tragic human experience; yet retain a tender beauty by the deft use of the sculptor’s chosen medium, a thin gray terra cotta.

Georges Jeanclos once said that the largest influences on his work were World War II, his apprenticeship to a sculptor, and his discovery of Etruscan art. There were tragedies in the artist’s biography that also had effect on the work. Central among those was his experience of hiding with his Jewish family during the Nazi occupation. During 1943, when he was 10 years old, his family fled the village where they had been hiding and lived in the forest near Vichy for a year to escape the Gestapo.

Jeanclos was often quoted regarding the use of the medium; for him the undecorated gray terra cotta was ideal for expressing the fragility of life. The thin clay shrouds the body and often carries fragments of words from the Psalms, the Song of Songs, or the Kaddish.

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