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16 Feb 2011

Daniel Hourde at Werkstattgalerie, Berlin

Daniel Hourdé,
Colin Maillard, Bronze and Silversculpture, 265x150x120cm, 2008, Cast: Landowski, Paris

Daniel Hourde:
New Drawings And Sculptures


February 12 - March 25, 2011

Mr. Pascual Jordan

Eisenacher Str. 6
10777 Berlin

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Daniel Hourde
New drawings and sculptures
February 12 - March 25

Daniel Hourde's sculptures is all about the human body. His bronzes belong to the great humanist tradition, that of the ancient Greeks, who introduced the contortions of melancolia into their sculpture. Their tormented representations foreshadow the Mannerist movement whose vital ambiguity is the life-giving expression its artists bring to the organic sensuality of the human body.

The body, whose existential freedom Hourde celebrates as rooted in a lost, destabilized society in search of points of reference. Imitating the Creator's bold gesture of breathing life into inert matter, the sculptor has been questining the body since time immemorial. Reclaiming its corporality or simply allusive, the body states its relationship to iconoclasm in recalling the immense power of image. To which Daniel Hourde dares to reply. In choosing a disinherited humanity, rooted in an anatomical realism marked by the stigmata of time, he fills a singular space in the world of contemporary sculpture. With his hands as his preferred tool, he works his models in wax, the medium dear to artists of the Renaissance. Wax lends its malleability to express the erosion of the flesh, as imprinted by the sculptor. The gesture is urgent, sacrificing fullness of form and classical harmony on the altar of truth. The expressionism of his male nudes recalls the tormented bodies of Ligier Richier and Germain Pilon's recumbent statues of Henri II and Catherine of Medicis. The body furrowed, bloodless, twisted, with muscles coiled. The body inhabited, to quote Baudelaire, with the mysterious, intangible beauty of this thin carcass, with flesh to clothe it before being torn away to join a macabre dance, still topical today. The body in metamorphosis (Narcissus, Athena, the Minotaur), for the myth of a universe governed by lightning, as expressed by Heraclitos.

Le Destin est presse and other of his sculptures present scenes of being condemned to fatal destinies, with the incongruous surprise of an ordinary accessory brutally interrupting the story. Myth gives way to imagination,. Fallen angels whose days are numbered, stirred by a vital exuberance, a final surge of revolt and the desire to exist, his charcters are masked or reveal premature skulls in their accepted solitude. All through the eye of a memorialiste who looks upon himself and others with a lucidity tinged with humour. Facing his model, Daniel Hourde sculpts the bodily labyrinth with a vehemence, tracing the exact interactions of its lines, attentive to the tension of an arc, the interrupted rhythm that punctuates a surface, accentuating a proportion, which will suggest the elan of life.

Fiery, but never improvised, his gesture is precise: dissecting, furrowing...elavating veins and tendonsfrom a corporal fabric that clothes a frame whose every bone can be numbered. And the sketch naturally imposes itself. In an ardent graphic outpour, bodies fall upon the page, captured in that uncontrollable instant of thought and gesture in fusion. Daniel Hourde shapes invisible reality. In his hands it becomes a signifier. His sculpture is to be seen and touched. Strength and vigour circulate in these bodies whose final metamorphosis is cast in bronze. Chiselling and burnishing awaken the life dormant in their forms, vibrating in the play of light. Firing exorcises time: conferring eternity upon these worn and weathered bodies.

The universal quality of his timeless art, and his quest for the infinite identify Daniel Hourdé as a visionary. He rejoins the great classics.

Lydia Harambourg
Art Historian and Critic

Galleria Nove
10178 Berlin
T: +49 (0)30 247816368
Di-Sa: 11-18h


Eisenacher Str. 6
10777 Berlin
T: +49 (0)30 21002158
Di-Fr 12-20h, Sa 12-17h