The nature of humanity spurs us to question the meaning of life. While this questioning may be expressed through discussions or be content only in thoughts, it has also inspired artists to create works that articulates their interpretation of the subject.
Expressing her perception of life in three dimension, French sculptor Val pays homage to the powerful notion of existence or presence in her latest exhibition titled Presence. The exhibition features 37 bronze sculptures and runs from 9 October to 2 November 2014 at REDSEA Gallery.
“My work is not at all reflective in the way I feel or how I think. It’s just a perception of my own life I put in the sculpture. I think it’s important for everyone to have their free interpretation,” said Val.
The self-taught and instinctual artist places great emphasis on balance and intuitiveness in her sculptures, which present a powerful affirmation of the presence of life.
Currently based in Bangkok, Val dived into sculpting when she encountered bronze at her friend’s studio one day. That experience motivated her to learn more about sculpting on her own, and eventually leave her marketing profession of 10 years.
Nookmag (N): Presence pays homage to the notion of existence. Tell us more about your questioning in life.
Val (V): It’s true that I’ve got a very strong questioning in life since my childhood days. There may be some answers but I don’t think I really know the answers. The important thing now is to try to be at the right place for yourself and to do the best to achieve. I think to be at the right place, you have to interrogate yourself and what’s going on. You have to feel that the world surrounding you is really bringing its magic. For me, this brings hopes in our questioning and expectations. We have our tough moments in life. In really tough periods, I’m amazed that nature can bring you hopes and make you think about expectations when you’re at your lowest. If you feel that you can have expectations when you’re at your lowest, it gives you perspective and strength to keep trying again and again.
N: How do you translate your ideas into the actual sculptures?
V: When I work, it’s a lot about impressions. I start a new sculpture and I get an impression and think maybe I should try this or that. After a while, there’s an interaction between the material, my hands, my skills and my intuition while sculpting. The mix of all that influences how the sculpture emerges. I don’t plan on how to shape the sculpture. While making it, I’ll feel how i can balance the whole architecture and I add a new structure here or I take one off etc.
N: Since your working style is free flowing, how would you know that your work is complete?
V: While working, you open your barrier and you let it go. There’ll be a moment where you’ll feel that your work is done, it’s balanced. There are vibration, life and emotions. So I stop. Technically speaking, if the sculpture is not completely done, it doesn’t matter because I feel that work is never finished actually. So you take one vibration at one moment and it’s a lively vibration and it’s great. This is what I want to do.
N: You put a lot of emotions into your work. In general, do you think more with your heart?
V: We were speaking about inspirations and I mentioned that I read a lot. Reading gives me a lot of ideas for my work, out of work. When I was speaking about balance, I think it’s the same. You have the consciousness of what you do and the intuition and emotions – it’s a combination of everything which make something that is a balanced and workable.
N: What uncertainties did you face when you picked up sculpting and what have you learnt through your journey?
V: It was really funny. When I made the switch, I think I was really lacking in confidence in what I was doing and where I was leading my life. So I had absolutely no fear when making the switch. It was a gift in my life and I knew I had to do it. I didn’t have any uncertainties. But afterwards, I found out that the path was really hard and demanding. I really had to focus and out all my strength in my work. I wouldn’t have imaged that it was so difficult. Now when I look back, I’m proud of the way I slowly progressed.
N: In our society, there are many people who don’t take their passion full time like you because of monetary concerns.
V: To be able to do it, maybe it takes consciousness or courage – I don’t know. In the beginning, I had a full time job, then I took up a part-time one. I even had to work on Sundays to be able to pursue sculpting. I couldn’t stop work totally. If you really believe in what you can do, you’ll be able to find a solution and you can take small steps. Even if it’s slow, it’s okay. The important thing is to go further and further. Following your passion is important but passion is not enough. You need rigour in your work. You need to work hard. Success takes a lot of work and dedication.
N: How would you advise people who would like to follow their passion?
V: I live in Bangkok, which is very far from my hometown. I really believe that I wouldn’t have been able to make it switch into sculpting without leaving my family, friends and society in France. I needed to gain confidence and freedom in my capacity. It was what I wanted to do. To be far away from my family, who was certainly concerned of the choice I was making. For parents, they’ll be much confident if I were working in a large company in marketing, then sculpting. For me, I needed to go away but the solution for everyone is different. There are many ways to do things. It’s unique for each one of us to walk our own path.
Presence by Val
Date: 9 October – 2 November 2014
Venue: REDSEA Gallery, 9 Dempsey Road
All exhibited pieces are available for acquisition