Johan Parmentier (BE)
1952 born in Tielt ( B)
1971-74 studies sculpture departement Sint-Lucas Instituut Gent
1977-2009 teatching sculpture Kunsthumaniora Sint-Lucas Gent
1983 lives and works in Huise
…some contemporary artists remain attached to stone. In Flanders, Johan Parmentier is one of the most interesting sculptors in this field…
Parmentier is interested in stones that one can experience by scanning them with one's eyes. The artist is humbled before the crude matter that is the stone. His recent works reveal his ever dwindling desire to contain the matter; instead, he aims to strengthen the inherent language of the stone. " The language of the material must become my own. I attempt to get lost in the work by opening myself up to the specificity and naturalness of the stone. I respect this specificity as much as I possibly can. In actual fact, I do not have to do all that much myself, even though each statue is the culmination of a long process. "
Johan Parmentier's work starts long before a stone is delivered at his studio. First, he explores the quarry where he is going to select his material. lt is only after several visits that he is able to build a picture of the quarry.
Then, he makes a number of photographs and drawings. In doing so, he acquaints himself with the geological features and colours of the stone of the site.
The artist, himself, finds it difficult to explain why he should choose this or that block of stone. In his view, it has to do with " the physicalness and sensuousness of the skin, the rhythmic structures and monumental character of the stone." Besides the individual characteristics of the stone, the artistic process in the studio also depends on the autonomous studies conducted by the artist at regular intervals. Parmentier draws intensively - sometimes for weeks on end : observations of his surroundings, or the rocky cliffs of northern France.
" I record forms, contours and colour gradings that strike me in crayon, charcoal, and oils," the artist says. " The structures and proportions that emerge in the course of the drawing process sink into my memory…
By his own admission, Parmentier is seeking a purely plastic medium that bridges the time/matter relationship. " Within structures that conjure up a kind of simplicity, I paradoxically enough, attempt to comprehend the fullness, chaos and complexity of life."
Eric Bracke june 2001
Artikel verschenen in het Juni-nummer van KUNSTBEELD, 2001.