Though the artist will exhibit for the first time at the Galerie Thierry Bigaignon, Henri Foucault’s work is already well-established. This show, starting on April 4th, will thus be a great opportunity to discover or rediscover the artist’s specific universe – that of a photographer-sculptor or sculptor-photographer – through a selection of new works focussing on the body.
As an inexhaustible source of inspiration, the body has always been for Henri Foucault, as for many sculptors, a subject for study, and more so, an absolute fascination. Henri Foucault does not only photograph bodies, he sculpts them and tries, through a selection of them, to express their multitude. It is the very sculptural dimension of the body, its fundamental aspect, that draws his interest. The challenge is for him to represent it without ever falling into some kind of eroticism, nor into the figurative.
Sculptor at heart, Henri Foucault nevertheless chose photography a long time ago. Unless photography chose him! Over the years, the artist has developed an artistic universe that, through the play of light, enjoys reinventing new forms of perception. “From this confrontation between[…] the slow shaping of a volume and the dazzling nature of the photographic act,” Dominique Païni tells us, “emerges the possibility of merging sculpture and photography. Photographing and sculpting, sculpting and photographing, it is this alternation that is accomplished in Henri Foucault’s work.”
Alix Agret, who wrote the beautiful text accompanying the exhibition, adds that “Henri Foucault’s images conjure up the photographic flatness that transforms photography into a medium of three dimensionality. As if, with a mischievous spirit, it was precisely through photography that Foucault wanted to demonstrate after Rodin that one must always “consider a surface as the end of a volume”. Especially since Henri Foucault has found in the body the ideal material – without, however, shaping it in the literal sense – to maintain the forms in a vibratory suspense that makes them oscillate between flattening and relief”.
Graduated from the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts of Paris, Henri Foucault has always made abstract sculptures, and it is an abstract vocabulary of sculpture that has led him to photography. The photogram is his signature. He varies the papers, pierces his images, mixes printing techniques, alternating shadow and light to better reflect the crumbling of the body, its fragility. Henri Foucault is constantly experimenting and creates photographic snapshots.
Henri Foucault’s career already includes a large number of exhibitions, both personal and collective. His works appear in prestigious private and public collections such as those of François Pinault, Marin Karmitz, Walter Zalenski, Manfred Heitin, Boissonnat, the Daniel and Florence Guerlain Foundation, the Fonds national d’Art Contemporain, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, among others.
THE BODY, INFINITELY
4 April – 18 May, 2019