Thea Van Herpt
An interest in the figurative language is regarded conservative, because for many practitioners art must be about breaking new ground. We can invoke the past for legitimizing qualities which can prove their importance today. However, one must never continue unthinkingly with the heritage of the past. The point is to acquire knowledge to contribute to an essential idea about sculpture. In this, I go back to the ‘impressionistic’ sculpture, to which Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel belong. I think the properties of their work still hold up over time. Figurative art is portraying the visible, the sensory perceptible reality. Plastic art is an art ‘embodying’ something: she is derived from the body, she creates bodies and she addresses man’s sense of the body. With this we touch the law of the plastic. The sculptor therefore must work with the tangible, with solid material. The human body consists of innumerable geometric forms, so figurative work also has abstraction as a starting point. It is challenging to observe these forms and to express this in sculpture, so there will be a balance between form, surface structure and composition. Trying to obtain a perfect balance between dark and light is the most interesting aspect of the process. A special challenge is working with different materials, such as plaster, stone and wax. It is fascinating to use the properties of these materials at their fullest to achieve harmony. This argument is not an excuse for working solely figuratively. It wants to make clear that, for me, the function of an artwork is meant exclusively as a pursuit of satisfying the personal artistry and aspirations of an artist.