From Terra Cotta to Terra Incognito
Gaëtane Dechaufour’s studio is to be found on a farm in Calvados. Originally from the rural world, she was destined on two counts to work with the earth, that which we cultivate and that with which we shape the stuff of our dreams.
Her natural attraction for clay gave Gaëtane Dechaufour an irresistible desire to create. After taking classes at the Fine Arts School of Caen, then at the city’s Tandem community centre under Joëlle Thibhou, she took to modelling, a discipline from which she derived obvious pleasure. Her artwork is inspired by the human body, both male and female. For six or seven years, she has devoted herself to her passion with great assiduity. Interestingly, the beginning of this period corresponds to her discovery of Togo, a country which she visits regularly to satisfy her fascination for its population and the life that people lead there despite its considerable poverty.
Since the time of Antiquity, the human body has ceaselessly inspired sculptors. “I love the fullness of its shapes,” explains Gaëtane Dechaufour as she stands among her artworks. Every Tuesday, she works from live models who pose for her on a regular basis. She often enriches her grogged clay with red clay, which turns black when fired, and glass inclusions to produce a similar effect to enamel. For some time now, Gaëtane Dechaufour has wanted to enlarge the format of her pieces in terra cotta. Today she begins a whole new reflection that will lead her to creating life-sized pieces. During her trips to Lomé in Togo, she had the opportunity to work with a native sculptor. This exchange opened up new creative perspectives for her. Similarly, she appreciates the exchanges that have arisen from discovering the country’s culture, which has taught her much about herself. “Africa completely enchanted and changed me. It’s a land that transforms you profoundly,” she says. “But you can’t go there without being somewhat prepared spiritually. Africa is a world in constant motion; its culture is steeped in generosity. The little that people possess, they offer you. But in order to receive such a valuable offering, you need to be inwardly disposed. When we go there, we modestly try to finance charities, particularly in the educative domain. It is a humble recompense for the gift that we receive.”
One of Gaëtane Dechaufour’s characteristics is to clothe or dress her nudes, which confers them a certain solemnity and even a form of theatricality. Africa, a subject frequently on her tongue, was an endless source of discoveries and delights for her. And as such, she willingly collaborates with the local volunteer organisations and this experience strengthens her in her artistic quest. From a simple dream of land, she has gradually seen the rise of a land of dreams, a world where the quality of one’s soul is worth more than appearances.
Luis PORQUET, writer - art critic
Du 01/04/2017 au 26/04/2017 :
CAEN : EXPOSITION ERIC DELACOUR ET GAETANE DECHAUFOUR A LA GALERIE ART-CULTURE-FRANCE