Jean-Louis Corby
Biography of Jean-Louis Corby, sculpteur

Jean-Louis Corby

Born in Paris in 1951, Corby works out of the Haute-Provence region.

I feel it is particularly difficult, if not impossible to say or write anything that is likely to make sense about Corby’s work while trying to remain distant and vigilant. That means that each contact of any length with one or more of his works is a highly individual experience: like passing something by if one doesn’t watch out, which goes without saying, or being struck by a movement, a shape, a sense of rhythm, a detail, a symbol. In that case, one would not be able to form an assessment based on the opinion of someone else, because both the detail (hands and feet) and the abstract nature (rhythm in general) or the composition of shapes assume or provoke an entirely personal point of view.

While that applies to a large extent to all works of art, this consideration applies in some way when one is talking about the special radiance of Corby’s sculptures. Anyone who remains neutral and impassive entirely misses the point. The human being (asexual) that Corby has invented is represented in its duplicity, strength, subtlety, lack of freedom or emotional way of escaping from the slings and arrows imposed on it, its triumphs, its universal yet at the same time personal and unique plastic language that seizes each of us in our innermost consciousness. This can be explained by the abstract nature of the movement and the meticulous individuality of the fingers and toes, by the overbearing and omnipresent cage in bronze or terracotta and the gracious and meaningful movement of the arms, by the compact body language that heralds a fundamental élan and also suggests the refinement of an identity, by a presence that appears to be a response to the enormous weight that the individual is carrying.

It would certainly be an error to try and make a distinction between what refers to man and what could be the translation or illustration of an idea. Corby is indeed a master in the art of giving form to a generally, slightly abstract thought, like a fissure, a break, an uncertainty, an imbalance – and also to integrate a more concrete detail into the character.

What looks initially like a formal and playful contrast in the eyes of a person coming into contact –superficially – with Corby’s work for the first time, gradually becomes the attaching fulfilment of a number of things, situations or states of mind, an exciting synthesis of form and thought, mind and matter, just as the total work of the artist is basically a synthesis of the traditional and the avant-garde, of subtle representation and an original concept.

Corby is in a class of his own as a sculptor in the sense that he is an attentive storyteller, while at the same time he produces a sculptural interpretation that is superior to a somewhat banal fact. In this way, he relieves an «ambiguous» human appearance of any anecdotal burden by using a playful metamorphosis and surprising formal language.

Corby also demonstrates his originality, both in plastic and spiritual terms, which enchants the vie wer in a personal way. By so doing, the sculptor occupies a unique place in the sculptural language of today in an atmosphere of subtlety and grace.

Corby’s sculptures suggest the duality of the human condition. They function perfectly as purely formal apparitions : they evoke interest and arouse marvelling through the rhythmic interior belonging to each sculpture and by the meanings attached to them, making each encounter an overwhelming personal experience.

Hugo Brutin (AICA).