The Galerie Christophe Gaillard chose 2023 as the year when it would showcase the works of the sculptor Eugène Dodeigne for the first time. The exhibition marks a centenary: a hundred years since Eugène Dodeigne was born in Rouvreux, a quarrying village in Belgium’s Walloon province of Liège. Dodeige went on to become a very important sculptor whose works have been exhibited worldwide.
In 1997, he explained, ‘Stone is a rock that never stops living. I find myself alone with stone – and she is always there. It’s ultimately a loving struggle against a rock.’ Indeed, in each sculpture, you sense that intense struggle against the material – ‘the fight’, as Dodeigne called it, that would end with him having breathed life into the work. Among the rock types in the oeuvres displayed, we find the bluish tones of Dodeigne’s trademark: Soignies stone – his favourite material, which characterised his works – like in Roc or Les Doigts; we find the light beige hues of Massangis stone in L’Étreinte and Les Deux figures; and we find the pristine whiteness of Carrara marble in Élancée. These creations show that Dodeigne’s craftsmanship was as effective as ever and that he was still using the fragmented-stone technique that he started trying out from the 1960s – an approach that would leave raw traces of his cuts in his sculptures. In these works of art, Dodeigne deliberately incorporated – more than ever before – traces of his own tools in the stone: the cuts of a digging bar, a drill, an air hammer, an angle grinder. These marks stand out as vital aspects of the sculptures, where light falls and shapes form, torn away from the rock.
Selected extracts from the text written by Germain Hirselj for the exhibition Eugène Dodeigne, sculptures and charcoals at the Galerie Christophe Gaillard.