The pleasure of sculpture

Prolegomena to the analysis of Riopelle’s three-dimensional work

The kettle and the Biennale
“I do it when it boils!”, Liked to repeat Jean Paul Riopelle to explain his pace of work and how it works, atypical both, which often made him jump from a discipline, a subject or in one way to another, making them play one on the other, sometimes with more or less long periods of silence or, better, silent reflection. In complete freedom and in all recklessness of the rate of profitability of his actions. For fun, simply.

Thus, in the early sixties, against all odds, thirty sculptures appeared. Moreover, Riopelle often said that sculpture was a discipline to which he devoted himself “since forever”, and indeed, in the volume 1 (1939-1953) of Catalog raisonné, Yseult Riopelle has listed three small figures of raw earth, dated 1947-1948, and beautifully photographed in the snow by the artist himself.

In general, the critical discourse is rather stingy with comments on this corpus of the work to which the artist seems to hold much. To a friend of art historian who asked him point blank: “You would have been a” bad “sculptor?”, Riopelle rather dryly replied: “I do not think so. I give enormous importance to my sculptures. In a way, more than my painting. “