The works of art presented by Vincent Barré at Chaumont-sur-Loire reflect the way he relates to the idea of Nature.
The metaphor of the tree, with its growth rings, skin and stature, began to feature prominently in 2003 in his first sculptures erected for the Monument aux fusillés de la Nivelle (Monument to those shot dead at La Nivelle) in Amilly (Loiret): body of the tree, body of the man, concentric columns carved out of the same block of polystyrene before being cast in iron, harking back to the ages of the Resistance fighters, truncated columns, cut short.
This shift, from the living form dreamt up, to the material form, has continued ever since, both in the “standing” and “reclining” sculptures, until the actual appearance around 2010 of wood in its blends: “Compagnons” a pear tree trunk standing alongside an aluminium column, like two archaic torsos, and then “Coupe” : two strong twin columns with alternating wood and metal. Very recently, with small bronze sculptures using the direct wax technique making a comeback, the inclusion of segments of ash branches in the wax has seen him resume the use of interlacing, arabesques and open shapes, thereby keeping his focus on abstraction rather than on naturalism, despite the literality of the material.
“It was my discovery of the Pietà (altarpiece) by Jean Fouquet – one of the finest Renaissance paintings – in Nouans-les-Fontaines, not far from Chaumont-sur-Loire, that got me musing once again on timeless things: The majestic sweeps of colour on the clothes which structure the large wooden panel, the interplay of impassive, internalised faces, the tight composition around a broken form, the chastity of a nude ... And in the bottom left-hand corner, lying on the ground like the three nails, a crown of solid twisted branches. The emotions stirred up before this painting inspired me to give them substance through sculpture, for a presentation of two works in the resolutely contemporary setting of Chaumont”.
In the Stables Canopy, in the middle of the Canopy, the artist has erected a large woven wood and wax exhibit, cast in bronze, reminiscent of this Renaissance crown designed by Jean Fouquet. A form at eye level that comes across merely as a line at first glance, before evolving into a ring the closer we get: it is, in fact, a crown.
Born in Vierzon in France in 1948, Vincent Barré graduated from the National School of Fine Arts of Paris. Having studied under the great architect Louis Kahn, he also has a doctorate in Urban Planning and a degree in architecture. He taught at the National School of Fine Arts of Paris until 2011. He splits his time living and working between Saint-Firmin des Bois (Loiret) and Paris.