There is a temporary exhibition of ten sculptures by Vladimir Skoda in the gardens and Cour d’Honneur of the Aix-en-Provence art centre; the contemporary sculptures perfectly complement the eighteenth-century architecture.
Vladimir Skoda, a French artist born in Prague in 1942, is among those artists who like to become closely involved with the materials, like an alchemist. At the Hôtel de Caumont, the sculptor illustrates his obsession with abstract and simplified forms via ten steel sculptures—spheres, erect spikes, concave discs, and so on.
Skoda likes to create a sense of contrast in his work. His sculptures, which sometimes reach a height of 3.20 metres and weigh up to 500 kg, can be monumental. However, they look as though they are rising towards the sky. Both dense and light, they seem to draw a telluric force from the ground—an energy that evokes the next phase, in which the spikes extend upwards and brush the clouds, and the spheres rise like soap bubbles, and the phase in which the mirrors deceive the viewers and blur reality. Adopting a metaphysical approach to his art, Vladimir Skoda invites the viewer to experience his work in a dynamic way, both physically and mentally.
Trained as a metal lathe worker, Vladimir Skoda studied drawing, painting, and sculpture. A resident artist at the Villa Médicis from 1973 to 1975, he began to work with iron. At the end of the 1980s, the spherical form gradually became an important part of his work. He started to integrate other metals into his steel sculptures; interactivity, magnetism, and polarity are his guiding principles.
In the Hôtel de Caumont’s Cour d’Honneur, a series of four oval mirrors, entitled Distorsionvision (Trou noir-trou blanc, 1992), illustrates his work on reflective surfaces. The image of the surrounding environment, deformed by the curved surface, introduces another dimension to the reception of his work, as these mirrors contain a blurred space, over which the eye moves and loses itself. In the gardens of the Hôtel de Caumont, steel spikes entitled Une seule direction ? (2004–2009) divide the space and evoke the infinite height of the cosmos. They provide a very ‘Brancusian’ counterpoint to Skoda’s spheres, entitled Sphère de ciel – ciel de sphères, and Horizon des événements.
Vladimir Skoda’s works are presented in the collections of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Prague National Gallery, the Gemäldegalerie Neue Meister in Dresden, as well as in many public and private collections in France, Belgium, Germany, and the Czech Republic. The exhibition in the Hôtel de Caumont has been organised with the support of the Catherine Issert Gallery.
Sphère de ciel – ciel de sphères, 2005, tôle perforée en acier - © Courtesy Galerie Catherine Issert
Distorsion-vision (Trou noir-trou blanc), 1992, acier inox poli miroir, oeuvre composée en 3 ou 4 éléments - © Courtesy Galerie Catherine Issert