This October Artcurial, in collaboration with Waddington Custot, presents an exhibition of Yves Dana, an artist known for his pared-back, yet powerful sculptures in stone and bronze, inspired by ancient Egyptian and Cycladic forms. This exhibition traces the creative development of this extraordinary sculptor from the mid-1990s to today, shown for the first time in France.
Two monumental works in bronze, ‘Figure en expansion’, 2023, and ‘Figure en devenir’, 2023, lead visitors through the space to the heart of the main exhibition. Dana was born in Alexandria, Egypt, but during a period of political unrest his family was exiled from their home country and made their way to Europe, finally settling in Lausanne in Switzerland. Decades later in 1996, Dana made a trip to his birth country, which would prove to be transformative; working on the edges of the Egyptian desert, he started to sculpt with plaster and stone, redirecting his aesthetic toward simpler forms. Dana then began his Stèles series: ‘Stèle XII’, 1997, included in the exhibition, reveals the artist’s close attention to the distinctive clean lines and minimalist carving of Cycladic idols; its textured surface is reminiscent of the ancient stone slabs engraved with hieratic script that Dana had encountered in Egypt. Many of Dana’s upright sculptures also find their origins in the country, inspired by the Egyptian felucca: simple, traditional sailboats used in pharaonic times and still in operation today.
‘Figure au levant’, 2013 and ‘Le silence des pierres’, 2017, show the different ways in which Dana reinterprets this original form to create elegant, fluid sculptures. The artist pays close attention to surface, patina and scale. Each work, carefully laboured over in Dana’s studios in Pietrasanta and Lausanne, is created instinctively, without pre-drawings or maquettes. Instead the sculptor responds in dialogue with the individual qualities of his material, as he describes: "We often say “silent as a stone,” but when I look at a block of stone, it talks to me, it whispers, and transmits to me the secret energy it contains. Volcanic rock or limestone, within these stones is the stored memory of millions of years of transformation and mutation... It is a language, a kind of music, which I try to listen to, accompany, and follow with my hands."
To accompany the exhibition, Yves Dana publishes a new, updated edition of his catalogue raisonne, fully illustrated, and featuring an interview between the artist and rabbi and philosopher Marc-Alain Ouaknin. A collectable limited edition of this comprehensive tome features a bronze relief recessed on top of an oak slipcase.Read more