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2020 Portrait à l'AG de d'Argiles 2020 - Voilà site!.jpg

Vincent Tournebize


I’ve been doing ceramics since 1981. It was Jean Pierre Chollet who taught me the rudiments for a year in his little workshop at the place where I was doing my military service.

Right after that, I made myself a foot-operated potter’s wheel and a high-temperature electric kiln and I have been doing pottery ever since. For a long time it was just as an amateur, although I worked at it several hours a day in parallel to my career as an engineer with EDF (Electricité de France)  until 2003.

My work as a ceramist consisted in those days of shaping and glazing utilitarian stoneware objects fired at high temperatures. The search for new glazes based on ash and other materials I met up with was a major focus of my research and production.

In 1996 I knew I was ready for a change and therefore organized the end of my professional career in such a way as to make a few dreams come true and have experiences I would have regretted never having had. I began to prepare for my new life without knowing exactly how it would be.

The instrument I chose to help make the great turnaround possible was vocational training at la Maison de la Céramique in the school year 2003-2004. It was quite a few years later, however, that I resolutely and professionally switched over to sculpture, working with live models in movement.

My way of proceeding during a posing session is rather particular, as I mainly let the clay, being nourished by the energy of the movement, tell me what it wants to become. I don’t have a precise idea of what the sculpture’s final position will be. With raw clay, often chamotte, fired at 1,310 degrees Celsius, I seek to transcribe sparks of life and the energy of my models’ movement.

Artistic approach

I use several approaches at the same time. Some of my sculptures are intentional, ones where I’m expressing an opinion on a subject. Others are technical challenges. The approach I use most often, though, is ‘sensitive’ sculpture, done before a live, moving model.

In the process called ‘sensitive ceramic sculpting’, my works are alive, meaning they move and have an existence and a soul. The making of them is essentially more a case of engendering than of just forming. They are born of the fecundation of the clay, a living material, by the energy of the movement and life of the excellent models with whom I’ve had the good fortune to do my rough drafts.

Indeed, as these models are never static but always in ongoing and meaningful movement, the unique beauty given off by a truly alive and expressive body appears to me in all its richness. The flow of my own body and the fact of being fully present in my hand movements while making the draft before the model are essential factors in attaining keen sensitivity to the initial vibration of the ‘fetus’ that is my first draft. An echo of that initial vibration is what we look forward to seeing in the finished sculpture. From there on, I am as far as possible at the work’s disposal, becoming an integral part of the womb through which the sculpture develops and blossoms according to its own nature.

It’s not a case of trying to demonstrate the movement with any clues or visual artifices; it’s more that I want to incarnate the model’s movement in my sculpture. I seek to preserve the life and movement of the very stuff of the clay and do it in one uninterrupted flow starting with the embryo stage, when the model impregnates the clay, right up to the moment the sculpture is fully formed.

Just as I don’t use my eyes very much while I’m working before the model (He or she constantly moves around, leaving me with no markers to set my sight on.), my sculptures also will be apprehended more by the heart than by the viewer’s eyes. It’s the heart that, according to individual sensitivities, more or less spontaneously captures the life energy and movement the sculptures give off.


Re-Visionary symbol: I leave my work free of copyright so that it can be shared among people who wish to reproduce it in the spirit of the Collective, as long as they indicate me as author.

Copyright symbol: I am the copyright holder of my own works: my work cannot be reproduced, except by the Re-Visionary Art Collective, under the conditions as indicated above in point 1. Unless I give my written consent.

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