French artist Jean-Marie Appriou creates sculptures, reliefs and installations that engage with the tactile properties of materials derived from the earth, such as clay, glass, bronze, zinc and aluminium. Since he graduated from the Regional School of Art in Rennes in 2010, Appriou has created a substantial body of work referencing folklore, belief systems and traditional craft techniques.
Appriou’s expressive sculptures often feature roughly worked surfaces, recording the laborious making processes. Rather than collaborating with craftsmen, artisans or foundries, Appriou taught himself smelting, forging, woodcarving, fur-tanning and casting, often from online tutorials. Manipulating the materials on his own in this way, his trial-and-error experiments suggest a form of contemporary alchemy.
The resulting sculptures offer a complex reflection on the absurd poignancy of such a manual approach in our contemporary digital age. His sculptures appear archaic and mythical, yet offer a highly personal cosmology, full of the artist’s own experiences. Appriou weaves together an extensive range of cultural references, notably pop music, space exploration, prehistoric landscapes and astrology.