Artist Jean-Frederic Batassé presents a collection of figurative stone sculpture inspired by the depth of human emotion. View more of his work by visiting his website.
Originally from Togo, West Africa, I am a self-taught artist. From the beginning, I was interested in anything creative. Since my childhood, I have experimented with drawing, painting, sculpture—even the performing arts. At first, I worked with sculpture only occasionally. Today it is the center of my creative work.
Through my work, I try to express a minimalist aesthetic inspired by the beauty and emotion present in everyday life.
There is diffuse beauty in naivete, love, tenderness, hope, desire, courage and so many other feelings. I try to recreate memories of a family scene, the spirit of a passionate couple, a child’s learning, the gesture of a pose, the one-off event.
The primary purpose of my work is to share the emotion generated by this beauty which is fundamental to happiness, to daily well-being or simply to taste the moment.
I try to keep it simple, keeping only the essential elements of the form, leaving the rest to the imagination.
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In my work with stone, I’ve learned to allow the material to determine the shape and feel of the finished work to a large extent.
The stone has taught me to treat it with respect. I carve with love, patience and good faith for a happy outcome. Procrastination and discouraging talk are strictly prohibited.
There is an old West African idea that has become my credo, “Enrich me with your difference.” This means that whenever you encounter a new situation—whether with another person, place or thing—you put together all the different aspects of the situation—your knowledge, your understanding, your love—to build something good.
As I continue with my experimental approach to working with stone, I find the need to stay mentally and emotionally present at all times. Much like prayer or meditation, I can feel the time spent in the studio increasing my self-knowledge and resiliency as well as my carving skills.
So, for now, I try to learn the lessons the stone has to teach me, and look forward to whatever the future holds in store.
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