• 4 December 2021

How ” L’homme au journal ” turned into bronze, a little story.

To my father
My children and grandchildren.
To Maud and Tiphaine
To art lovers


The character is comfortably seated at l’Ormeau’s café’s terrasse, on a wicker armchair, legs crossed, his slipper dangling from the tip of the foot, Pastis in the hand, feeding himself reading the news. He looks familiar… He could be my father…


I‘m staring at him — my subject —with his so particular posture. He almost seems to be asleep, but he is very much alive. Don’t need to tell him to strike the pose. His happiness, a kind of Marcel Pagnol ‘s glory, radiates around him. This happiness seems invincible. That was my bigger challenge : make comes out the best of it, for you. My model obviously ignores me, as he ignores everyone else. But through him I felt the stream of eternity…


To create a sculpture, I was inspired by the original drawing version, which had no head. I wanted this man to stay mysterious, but I gave up the table and the pastis’s glass : less is more. Suddenly he seemed universal. He’s not reading “la Provence“ anymore, but all the news around the world. On some of the pieces, the inscription still appears, engraved using a chisel, at the foundry according to my whim. You can recognize charcoal drawing style, I wanted to keep it very spontaneous. Style. Expression. Origine. « L’homme au journal » 3D version had to keep is identity, but become an extension of himself, if not what’s the point, right?


Each artistic technique brings, by magic, a new breath. My inspiration prompted me to use a technique made of feather rather than lead. I didn’t use stone. Nor the chisel. I wanted to stay light. As if the idea had to surf on a cloud. With the secret hope of turning the cloud into bronze. The line has therefore become the stroke of the scissors or cutter, and transparency. The cuts flew away, added, subtracted, as in a ballet. The discovery of an empty space between his body and the newspaper was a shock. A volume filled with emptiness flanked like a stake in the middle of the sculpture. That was it? The goal was he achieve? My intuition let me think that I got something.


Then I thought about the sky, the invincible stars, filled of imagination and dreams. Both the journal and the man where dancing in this sidereal space, contained in the sculpture, between the arms, the journal and the body, joined by the hat at the top. I was wandering. This space was the key to the final three-dimensional representation of “ L’homme au journal ” . Turned out we had to double the quantity of bronze to build two walls in the hollow, the smelter was at the same time desperate and thrilled, he never seen this in his entire career.


I would like to say a word about magic of creation. Sometimes she makes things easier using unusual ways. Where does she comes from? Is she a person? To me, you know this person, Christine, my muse and biggest inspiration. Is creation also comes from work? No doubt from both.


Things have changed in such a short time. Cellphones, tablets, computers are gradually making newsprint disappear, same for the vaping which replaced the real smoke of cigarette paper. The world is changing. But today I know why “l’ homme au journal” was born, to remind us a gesture that is good for health, turn the big pages of the press. So, let’s roll up our shoulders and take a deep breath of news.


Happy holidays to all !

Gérard Isirdi

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