In her contemporary sculpture, the French artist Martine Demal explores the different possibilities of bronze, the material she has chosen for her works, by pushing it to the limit of its potential.
From figuration to abstraction through rhythm
Martine Demal is a French artist who lives and works in the Paris region. She graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in 1970 and has been sculpting for over 35 years. The starting point for her sculptural activity was a meeting with Louis Derbré, an established sculptor who, impressed by the way she spoke about his work, suggested that she become his student. However, she felt the need to find her own way, her own style, independently, and preferred to return to the atmosphere of the workshops with live models she used to frequent during her "Beaux-Arts" years.
For her, the human body is the basis of everything in sculpture: "In a human body you have a landscape, a painting, a volume, you have everything." The human body gradually becomes more and more stylised, with the artist keeping only the essential elements. This process guides the transition from figuration to abstraction, although, in her work, both remain present and intrinsically linked.
Demal emphasises the importance of rhythm in her work: the interplay between light, shadow and vibrations. Her most recent series, Signs and Writings, is in line with the thoughts of Amélie Nothomb, for whom “Writing starts when the talking stops, and it’s a great mystery, the transition from the unspeakable to the speakable” (Hygiene and the Assassin).
Meeting the sculptural challenge through working in bronze
For Demal, sculpture is a constant challenge; she defines herself not only as a sculptor but also as a researcher. Research is the true source of her motivation and determination. The artist has experimented with many different materials in the course of her career, the ultimate goal always being the creation of her bronze sculptures.
The artist has worked on both horizontality and verticality in her projects. Her most recent challenge is a search for balance in almost fragile forms and proportions, taking full advantage of the possibilities that bronze offers her, despite its weight and density. These bronze sculptures, which require a long and demanding process of reflection and realisation, no longer hold any secrets for the artist as she explores the potential of this material to its limits.
The strength of the sculptures and their relationship with the public
Demal aspires to create sculptures that are dense yet light at the same time, sculptures that combine power and strength, using the magic of traditional bronze craftsmanship combined with elegance of form and proportion. The 'strength' of her sculpture is also reflected in the relationship it establishes with its audience. Demal wants her works to have an impact on the viewer, whom she wants to own the sculpture through their own interpretation of it.
This contemporary sculptor has exhibited in galleries, fairs and shows in France and internationally. Her sculptures have earned her several prizes, including that of the "Pierre Gianadda" foundation, awarded by the Académie des Beaux-Arts - Institut de France for her entire body of work.
"Martine Demal questions the material to awaken secret life, growing energies. Rooted in the ground, her sculptures reach skywards, seeking to free the mind from the matter." Lydia Harambourg, historian and art critic