Artist Jean-Philippe HAUSEY-LEPLAT lives and works in the region of Lisieux in Normandy, having stayed in the region in which he was born in 1950. After studying industrial drawing, his first graphic ventures led him to an architect’s office. But he rapidly accepted a private owner’s proposition and undertook the restoration of a medieval chateau, a project to which he would devote over twenty years. This work enabled him to teach himself most arts and crafts.
Very quickly, he began practicing other artistic disciplines as well, namely drawing and sculpture, and this led him to his life’s second passion, which consists in creating sensitive and very personal sculpted representations of the animal world. Very interested in contemporary art, he became a frequent visitor of the artistic haunts of Paris and perfected a personal technique of creation that combines his attraction for the animal world and his deep interest in the contemporary forms of expression drawn from Art Brut. Once he has chosen a subject, he begins by observing and studying the animal in its natural environment. He takes many photos and draws numerous sketches. When he feels ready, he sets aside all this preparatory work and creates a general silhouette by building a metallic frame that will not only dictate the shape of the piece but also render it study. He then begins the lengthy process of applying successive layers of plaster to it.
This provides the density needed to convey the animal’s power and posture. Next, the sculpture is enveloped in hessian from sacks that the artist collects from farms or any other source. Although very precise, his pieces are not the result of any direct measurements. It is through his prior studies, drawings and photos that he obtains the tactile knowledge needed to sculpt the animals. After that, his work is a mixture of memory and feeling. The subjects he treats, whether they be farm, domestic or wild animals, are always selected for their inherent muscular power, which is conveyed in a startling way thanks to the artist’s personal approach. He often makes use of the printed markings already present on the used sacks. The segments of hessian are joined and sewn together, resulting in strong and unexpected contrasts. Although often on their own, the animals may at times appear in couples or in groups. His deep sensitivity and his precise knowledge of animal anatomy, which is manifested in the relief of his sculptures, effortlessly lead the observer into the primitive and very contemporary world of his pieces. A sort of magical communication is established, similar to the effect of African masks, which portray messages of intense emotion. His artwork very quickly met with huge success in France and many other countries.



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