A. Pascal Convert
Spirituality, memory and meaning are at the heart of Pascal Convert’s body of work, which is both mysterious and profound. His work focuses essentially on imprint and the recusal of oblivion. He maintains his own special connections with everything that has disappeared, objects and living beings alike, and often makes use of crystallisation. Molten glass is poured onto objects and gradually attacks the matter of books or the wood of sculptures, as if it were a form of transubstantiation, a special kind of alchemy that retains the soul of the text involved.
Hence, La cristallisation au livre perdu (Crystallisation of the Lost Book) consists of destroying a book and its contents with molten glass, which gradually replaces the book. The result is a phantasmal object, a crystallised work, bearer of vitrified memory. The original book’s carbonised remnants remain in the heart of the sculpture, evoking countless book burnings ordered by totalitarian powers since antiquity. Pascal Convert has installed his fire-crystallised books in the de Broglies’ library in Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, which was destroyed by fire in 1957, as a fair return for the burned works it once contained.
Imprints and traces are omnipresent themes in his work, connected with the themes of war, destruction and resistance. In the Dining Room and Historic Grounds, the artist presents his Souches (Ceux de 14 / Those of 14), tree stumps from the Verdun battlefield, some coated in Indian ink and others vitrified. Overwhelming and bursting with superimposed memories, they leave a powerful imprint on the mind.
In 2023, Pascal Convert will be adding a sensational installation to the Château’s collection, composed of forty plaster candelabras arranged on a sheet of black glass exactly the same size as the Dining Room table top. Emerging from the depths of a bottomless lake, the forest of candelabras draws up like a squadron deprived of light. As is his habit, the artist summons up highly symbolic images.
Last year, on the invitation of Voyage à Nantes, the artist produced a permanent artwork, Miroirs des Temps, for the Miséricorde cemetery, the last resting place of the region’s great families’ deceased. A series of glass bas-reliefs, created in collaboration with the master glassmaker Olivier Juteau, is distributed in the oldest part of the necropolis, which is marked by particularly dense vegetation. Each of the ghostly animals in question follows the visitor’s gaze with mute but moving persistence.