The first word of the Bible is “Bereshit”, today generally translated in English as “In the beginning”.
The book of Genesis relates the symbolic, primordial history of the creation of the world, drawn from legends that date from time immemorial, from before linear chronology even. Without wishing to start a theological discussion, I find it fascinating to analyse this word. The translation of “Bereshit” that I like best in French is “En tête”, because it means both “at the head, or front, of something” and “in the mind”, just as, in the Middle East’s view of the physical creation of the world as the result of a conceptual process, the universe was dreamed up on the first day in the mind of the Creator. What language did He think in? What can this cerebral space containing the whole of future creation have possibly been like?
This, then, is the starting point of the sculptures I have called “En tête”. They are multi-facetted structures or constructions – as it were, the primordial egg or seed – capable of containing all forms of life to come. Their skeletons are at once geometrical and animal, an architecture of the mind.
The subject of my pieces varies widely, and yet they are all more or less linked to each other by this theme. They are an attempt to create forms that are themselves inhabited, that are veritable sources of energy, that give the impression of being able to breathe by themselves; an attempt also to suggest a Nature or environment that is at once in accord and in conflict with human creation. They seek to evoke a sentiment, a sonority, a privileged environment, the natural or artificial erosion caused by Nature and by mankind
I often use the earth itself to find my bearings - I mean the surface or ground zero that we touch with our feet while our bodies reach for the skies. Like the mathematical representation of a curve, the memory of the past is at the bottom, time present on the surface, and hope or the future at the top.
Sometimes, too, I use several pieces to create an ensemble, a journey through time with points and with a space which is “in between”. A story, a comic strip telling of the birth of a form in stages. A negative form, a hole beneath the surface of the Earth’s crust, a space devoid of its matter that forms a receptacle, like an archeological site. And then, stage by stage, a form that emerges at times like a mountain driven upwards by tectonic forces, at others like a kind of geometrical architecture created my man. History is a story that has to be read over time, and that time may be linear or it may be circular.
“Entre deux points” are vehicle-forms between stages.
The circular forms, “Arènes”, are like city centres; they embody the idea of the centre of the universe, the navel, a space created, ordered, surrounded by walls raised against the outside world, the sphere of the unknown, the foreign. Yet this fortress is not entirely enclosed, its walls are in the shape of a spiral, whose ends barely touch so as to leave just enough space for a narrow passage between what is outside and what is inside, as though it were a place of refuge.
“Espace pour habiter” is the most obvious architectural construction, a series of structures in three stages, a personal temple for the ascension of the mind. It is a reflection of my search for the concept of a spiritually inhabited form.
If the shape of my sculptures is often loaded down with detail, it is because I believe that simplicity can sometimes hide, or prevent one from seeing, the underlying reality. Doing away with detail in order better to understand, instead of trying to apprehend the whole in all its complexity, can be a mistake, for it is all too often the details themselves that create the whole.
The words of my language are stone, metal, clay, the so-called traditional materials. What is most important for me is the process itself and the outcome, rather than the choice of material. Besides, the purpose of language is as much to define - and to define oneself - as it is to communicate with others.
As one who has changed his language more than once in his life, I find that the idiom that suits me best is that of form, of volume, of texture, nuance and colour.
Trying to explain the meaning, the direction, the mechanism behind one’s creation can be a dangerous undertaking. It can reveal or demystify the process that underlies the creation of a work of art (for oneself as well as for others). It can make any further attempt to create or even look at art seem ridiculous, pointless.
I am often tempted to say to people: “My work is right in front of you. Just look at it for yourselves!” There is no need for explanation, and even less for a key. Better by far that I simply try to open doors, suggesting possible ways to apprehend the pieces on display.
Ariel Moscovici 2008
Arranged and translated by Jacques Carrio and Robert Drew