Frenchman Daniel Hourdé Returns to Brazil with a Traveling Show of Sinewy Figures

Mar 3, 2016 10:40PM

In late 2015, French artist Daniel Hourdé returned to Brazil with a new series called “Lendas e Aparações,” or “Legends and Appearances.” Beginning in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Ouro Preto, the exhibition then traveled to Belo Horizonte and Salvador de Bahia, where it will remain on view through March 13, before concluding in Fortaleza and Rio de Janeiro.

Hourdé’s work moves between painting, sculpture, and drawing, particularly with charcoal, which suits his forceful and frenetic images. His twisted, torqued figures appear in constant motion as he transforms traditional materials, such as bronze, into jagged figures in various stages of struggle, with their tendons stretching and arms reaching out. Hourdé gets under the skin as well to simultaneously reveal what’s inside and out. Sometimes these sinewy figures are surrounded by shards of metal that could be wings or thorns, adding to the underlying spiritual effect. 

Born in 1947, Hourdé studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the early 1970s and has since been working and exhibiting internationally, particularly at Galerie Agnès Monplaisir in Paris. In Brazil, the exhibition includes a series of outdoor sculptures in bronze that show a large figure in a variety of active poses. He fends off the head of a mythological beast in one sculpture. In another, he dodges bright red lightning bolts, and in another, he is weighed down and tripped up by large letters that look like a burden—perhaps a difficult history he is trying to escape.

In the exhibition space, a long, horizontal charcoal-on-paper drawing shows the movement of a skeletonlike figure as if it were captured through the clicks of a camera or a slowed-down video. The movement could also represent animation; after all, among the exhibit’s religious iconography, a nearby shadowy figure wears a tortured Mickey Mouse mask.

—Blaire Dessent

Daniel Hourdé: Lendas e Aparações” is on view throughout Brazil until May 29, 2016.

See more artists from Galerie Agnès Monplaisir on Artsy.