Preface written by Patrick-Gilles Persin
In these times when sculpture has become significantly important, and while it exists, or, better still, is becoming a part of our daily lives, it is absolutely clear that personalities, in order to emerge, to stand out from run of the mill occurrences, must be original and fresh in their approach, in their identity. So it is for Benoît Luyckx who works by direct carving. His work immediately reminds us of Brancusi’s dictum: “The hand thinks and follows the Material’s thought”.
For the fifteen years, Benoît Luyckx has been in a permanent state of flux. He moves forward, resolutely, inside an intense language which leads him towards solid dynamics, in a perfect human constancy. Thus during the last few years, we have seen Weaves, Duos, Torsoes who happily invade our memories, and, thanks to the use of doubles, provide surprising twin elements. A fascinating version of sculpture! Here ambiguity leads the onlooker: we are dealing here with a profound intellectual ambiguousness on which the whole body of work is based. The aspects and possibilities of Benoît Luyckx approach, the tactile elements in the materials, technique and subtlety in movements, interventions and aesthetic considerations which, whether carried out or not, between them integrate our daily life, as does architecture.
Did the artist not say that he would like, insofar as it possible to move out of sculpture as such?
Indeed, he is trying, though stone, his only material, to find new forms which become obvious and more than ever necessary: customary. To achieve this, Benoît Luyckx is ready to then transpose them into another material, to adapt them, take them over. His current work catches light so well, midway between sleekness and coarseness, that it invariably produces an Implication with architecture.
Benoît Luyckx always imagines his work as such, naturally, but also in a manner that will imply its integration, its adaptation to the important volumes of current buildings. Above all, he does not want his work to be seen as a decorative adjunct, but more as an integral part of the whole building, and in accordance with the architect’ ideas and aims. Each one of his work, quite obviously can, once it is developed, occupy an important place, for they are see as architectonic elements without interference. This explains his wish to be involved right from the start of the building’s inception so as to be even more integrated, to act together in order to obtain a more coherent whole in the space jointly chosen.
Her is an oeuvre which always calls out for the monumental scale, even while it retains – a rather unusual occurrence! – an exemplary sensitivity. The ”sciago” or shock which will stigmatise Benoît Luyckx’ resolve to bring about the fundamental, sensory, sensual translation of emotion induced by the creative act. For instance the weaving and then eventually the unweaving of a piece strengthens this desire which always accompanies freedom. Thus, by rationalizing and then de-rationalizing work, all the possibilities explored allow him to impose a suggested reading which is a pleasant surprise after the first frontal reading. Each piece obliges the attentive onlooker to become aware of this second span, which is more refined, more precise, and which opens up the human universe, which had almost been deflected by the abrupt, rather violent surge.
The rough and the smooth, the matte and the brilliance of the pieces, often doubled, produce an impression of complementary twin hood, of an unflinching swing between two salutary solutions, complementary and desired. In fact, the polishing of the base material outweighs the torsoes’ sensuality, without seeking to effect a surprise from one phase to the other.
The splitting of the tow sides of the work takes the sculptor logically forward into his delicate, dense conceptual evolution. He impose his will deliberately or not, through an invisible antithesis which moves from the most obvious serenity to anguish, from self-awareness to doubt. Understanding the modern world and refusing it, acceptance and rejection, force him to destroy, take back, build up, undo such and such a weaving, unpolish some silent planes to the hammer and provide it with roughness, and texture to enhance its tension and provide the real dimension of the work in the making.
Benoît Luyckx then questions himself. This vital self-seeking brings him ever closer, like a latter day Janus, to the double in his answer. The spread of forms, the passage of light brings about an important discovery at the juncture of verticals and horizontals In his new progression the rough edges of a plane, similar to the chaos at the creation of the world, will interfere in a clear material language, through a succession of platforms which push the piece upwards.
The constant directional design pull the strata of a “mineral” face in a strict graduation upwards, whereas the other, vertical face, determines the “organic” face. The technical meeting place of these two faces produce little regular opening which, paradoxically, can also be read as a denunciation of man’s enclosure, a permanent imprisonment. Perception followed by analysis which pieces of this nature encourage in Benoît Luyckx’ work are not always easily understood by the general public. The intellectuality of the story and its sources are still beyond immediate intelligibility. Here, for the artist, architecture proceeds from verticality, whereas his need for ductibility stems from man’s horizontal posture faced with clouds!
Scansions and rhythms, apparently, multiply in the work’s progress in a crescendo revelatory of Benoît Luyckx’ faith in his own beliefs. Those holes of light which limit our existence like traffic lights, imperative signals, in fact point up the complexity of his thought processes, a sort of defensive system. But nowadays, forever evolving, he cracks open the warp by hammer-blows. Is this a destructive revolt, or more simply, the need to translate a strong, human message, which is intensified by the radicalization of writing in space, while remaining anchored to a grandiose human scale.
Patrick-Gilles Persin, art critic
Translation Ann Cremin