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Behind the Scenes: Sculptures by Isabelle Thiltgès Exhibition
September 19, 2013  | 

An intimist and humanist, Isabelle Thiltgès sculpts inwardness and the relationship to others, which she renders through the prism of her sensitivity. Her work, the true reflection of profound thinking on solitude, the ambivalence of feelings, or the shortcomings of man, which she questions with indulgence and spontaneity, also recalls the beauty of meeting and sharing, of love and friendship, thus illustrating the optimism with which the artist contemplates the world that inspires her. Her gaze is discreet and her touch constantly driven by the desire for authenticity.

Indeed, Isabelle Thiltgès does not compose and does not seek to develop an argument. She sculpts with sincerity, making visible, but without demonstrating, what moves or intrigues her, and this, through matter alone. Sometimes weighty and painful, the existential themes that she addresses are always treated with subtlety and lightness, here and there enlivened by the humour that her work never strays too far from.

 From her creations, which are delicate, figurative and marked with a formal simplicity that is refined in as much as it results from what Brancusi called “resolved complexity”, there nonetheless emanates an undeniable strength; a consubstantial force being imposed here through the diverted routes of emotion and the effect they give rise to in the viewer who is sensitive to the elegance of their sober, airy and purified lines.

From the yearning stretch of two mountains in Acmé, joyously surveyed by small figures that they seem almost to have given birth to, to the agitation of La Tempête, recalling however that it depends but on human will to “stay upright” in torment; from the ambivalent signification of L’Envers du Décor, fully exploiting the richness of the theme of the mask, to La Conversation Silencieuse, a moving invitation to appeasement, also revealed by La Légèreté, the polymorphic works of Isabelle Thiltgès intrigue the spectator, who is subtly drawn in, but without constraint, along on the route of introspection. Singular and unclassifiable, she develops in this way a poetic form of feeling that is touching and related to identity, that of man setting off in search of himself.

For Isabelle Thiltgès, the exchange with clay is absolutely primordial: its living essence, its scope for expression of meaning and its demands guide the approach of the artist, who constantly places her work at the caesura, also the point of equilibrium, between artistic aspiration (the projected work) and the intransigence of conception, that La Tempête, H. 52 cm x W. 81 cm x D. 35 cm is, the respect of the material and the contingencies that it may, by its nature, impose.

The artist thus maintains an intimate and sometimes tense relationship with the material, of which she undoes, through the creative act, the initial unity that is subsequently lost in the multiplicity of lines, curves and counter-curves of the mineral forms patiently modelled before being, once considered sufficiently accomplished, made lasting through their transposition in metal.

Back in Brussels since November 2012, Isabelle Thiltgès has settled into the space of her new atelier. Being in no way subject to a periodic or thematic approach to her work, the artist currently divides her activities between new creations and the “rediscovery” of existing models that she has more specifically chosen to include in an already experienced process of making monumental. The approach consisting of submitting established designs to a change of scale, it is true, is not new to Isabelle Thiltgès. Thus, the piece entitled Simplement (H. 27 cm) could be said to have served as model for the monumental Tout Simplement (H. 280 cm) acquired by the Gouffre de Padirac following the exhibition devoted to the artist’s work in 2012. The same function may be attributed to L’Envolée, “prototype” of La Grande Envolée and, as the initial work in an enlarged form, illustrating how Isabelle Thiltgès has effectively become impassioned by transcription to life size, and this in probable awareness of the original creations produced in the intimacy of the atelier being unanimously charged with a contained monumentality and so able to be deployed in a space appropriated in this way. However, the opposite path could also be taken, making the transcription from big to small, another route to explore.

The current work of Isabelle Thiltgès thus combines new themes and the further development of the committed reflections to which she gives material form through unprecedented creations called on to enrich a production that is sensitive, radiant and poetic, wonderfully illustrating a singular universe that is so endearing to discover…and to share.

From the Orangerie du Sénat to the Parisian gallery of Bruno Jansem et Flora J., by way of the Gouffre de Padirac, the artist’s creations have travelled, and on each occasion have taken possession of the locations and spaces, which they have always managed to inhabit… But it is now in the very heart of the studio that they are currently installed, in the context of an exhibition thought out with regard to unveiling and, in line with this idea, conceived as an original invitation to a sharing of the sculptor’s private space. From the ball of clay to the bronze, from initial to completed, the works are constructed patiently, going through several essential stages that their final state however never allows to show through, so depriving the spectator of the perception of a behind the scenes view that Isabelle Thiltgès has here chosen to present. La 

Practical Information Dates:
September 27 to October 20, 2013 
Preview: Thursday 26 September from 6 p.m.
Studio-Gallery of Isabelle Thiltgès, 34 rue du Général Patton - 1050 Brussels – Belgium 
Tel.: 00 32 491 94 03 87  
Photos: © Isabelle Thiltgès, except La Tempête © Cécil Mathieu La Légèreté