“Why would one have to be Parisian to be an artist? asks Landes sculptor Christophe Doucet

It’s a return to Bordeaux through the front door. Landes artist Christophe Doucet exhibits his mostly monumental wooden sculptures at the Frac (Regional Contemporary Art Fund), in the spaces of the Méca which lend themselves perfectly to it, in a course entitled “Artémis et la Grande Ourse. »

Christophe Doucet in front of Hare Blue – Mickaël Bosredon/20Minutes

After studying Fine Arts in Bordeaux, Christophe Doucet, who was told to move to Paris if he wanted to pursue a career, had to turn away from the artistic world for a while, out of necessity. “When I left the Beaux-Arts, my father said to me: ‘Now you’re on your own, you have to work,’ he explains. So I had to find a job, as I came from a forestry background, that’s the path I followed, in the Landes where I had spent my childhood. »

Landes Art

Christophe Doucet will be a forester for more than twenty years. The job is tough. You have to get up at 6 a.m., transport thousands of tons of wood to the factory, lead a team of loggers… But it’s also a wonder to see the sun rise over these expanses of pines, to observe the deer and boars in the forest. “I was torn by the fact of leaving the world of art, and that of getting closer to nature, which I have always been close to. I would have been miserable in town. As a child, I spent my time making treehouses with my friends. So, finally, I said to myself, why not make sculptures in the trees? Why in France, would you have to be Parisian to be an artist? »

There is the land art. For Christophe Doucet it will be the Landes art. Indeed, he sees in these large pine forests “similarities with the work of Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer, these Land art artists who achieved great things in the desert. Finally, “this detour through the profession of forester was beneficial to me. »

It is “the shape of the tree that orients the sculpture”

Oak, lime, cedar, acacia… Christophe Doucet works with all sorts of species, whether they are stumps that are brought to him or that he picks up. But never pine, which is “not a sculptor’s wood, because it splits. Always very close to nature, he mainly creates animals – rabbits, groundhogs, bears… – for his monumental works, but also masks, inspired by his travels.

Artist Christophe Doucet with one of his wooden masks
The artist Christophe Doucet with one of his wooden masks – Mickaël Bosredon/20Minutes

If he leaves a lot of room for intuition in his creation, assures that it is “the shape of the tree that orients the sculpture”, Christophe Doucet also summons in his works religion, popular arts and traditions, revisits mythology, evokes the world of dreams, distills winks to the masters of sculpture. He also likes to have fun, and deliver touches of humor.

A work that comes from the tree stump that served as a child’s cabin

“Christophe has turned away from the classical vocabulary of sculpture, while knowing the contours and recesses of this history of art, explains Claire Jacquet, the director of the Frac who has been following him for years. A work like The Chalice is directly inspired by the vocabulary of Brancusi, with the idea of ​​endless columns and this necklace of balls. “I have visited quite a few countries, especially Korea and Romania, adds the artist, and in Romania we see many endless columns in front of the farms, as if Brancusi, on arriving in Paris, had magnified what he had seen around him. »

Chalice, by sculptor Christophe Doucet
Chalice, by sculptor Christophe Doucet – Mickaël Bosredon/20Minutes

Each work has a story. The Great Bear comes from the tree stump that served as a child’s cabin, in which “I came to dream, to imagine what I would do when I grew up. Then the oak tree died. “I brought it to the studio, he continues, and the first thing I do when I make a sculpture is to knock over the tree, it gives rise to a muzzle, it’s very curious. This is where this bear was born, in spite of me. »

Artemis and the Big Dipper exhibition by sculptor Christophe Doucet, at the Méca in Bordeaux
Artemis and the Big Dipper exhibition by sculptor Christophe Doucet, at the Méca in Bordeaux – Mickaël Bosredon/20Minutes

If this exhibition at the Contemporary Art Fund is a recognition, which he does not deny, of his work, Christophe Doucet underlines that in his eyes “the best compliment that I have been given to me to date, is when a lumberjack said to me: “you, you show things that we, out of modesty, don’t dare to say.” »

Frac Nouvelle-Aquitaine, 5 Corto Maltese parvis in Bordeaux. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Free admission (minimum €2), free for children under 18 and holders of the Youth Card.

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