Sculpture emerged like a challenge in the career of Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon (1934–2005). In the early 1990s, when he was known the world over for his posters and paintings, Folon started to direct all of his energy towards statuary, working with both moulding and direct carving. Encouraged by his friend César, Folon would go on to produce some 400 sculptures in bronze and stone. Characterised by their frontality, Folon’s sculptures drew their inspiration from the ancient art of the Cyclades and the Etruscans, as well as from African masks and Native American totems. Largely focused on the human form, his sculptures embody themes that he had formerly treated graphically, and thus project the artist’s universe into natural environments: landscapes, gardens and parks.
Specialists approach and illuminate the work from different perspectives in this book, which is organised around photographs, published here for the first time, by Thierry Renauld. A good friend of Folon’s, this photographer from Brussels attended all of the artist’s major installations and exhibitions, not just in Brussels and Knokke, but also at the Château de Seneffe, in Pietrasanta, at the Castelo de São Jorge in Lisbon, on the hills of Florence and in the Solvay Château in La Hulpe. Jean-Michel Folon had wanted to make this book, for which he had even written the preface. Alas, he died too soon. Fifteen years after his passing, the book he had imagined is finally seeing the light of day.