"Many years ago, I felt the need to put my hands in the soil, in this organic matter. This feeling imposed itself on me and became vital. Sniffing, kneading, crumpling, smashing, clawing the matter until the form comes out…
The clay is a living material dictating its own laws, which demands attention, a particular listening, it’s my guide in our union; just my fingers, no tools between her and I, a fight with bare hands, a fierce and wild battle creating a balance game, I look for the flaw, I flirt with the danger, I explore the junction point, the ultimate point of balance, the moment when everything changes, where the accident springs forth, when the encounter occurs, which gives life, when the clay asserts itself and imposes itself in the creation. Sculpture is born.
7 years ago, it is the meeting with the porcelain, the desire to reach more softness in my works attracts me. Leaving aside the monsters with tortured forms sprung from a fight with raw material, I decided to confront myself with the whiteness, this new medium, its purity and its extreme fineness. The magic happens, very quickly I understand that the only way for this clay to take shape is to give it love and patience. My appeasement will not pass by violence, but by tranquility.
My sculptures have always been inspired by the female figure, with the obsessional themes of : birth, chaos, death, then rebirth. Creating constantly, from a sensation, a word, an image that obsesses me or imposes itself in a given moment. Since life is Impermanence, since we never cease to be born, to be no longer, not yet to be…"
— Catherine Wilkening
Architect D.P.L.G., Jean-Christophe Ballot graduated from the National School of Arts Decoratifs and from FEMIS. In 1991 he had a residency at the Villa Medicis. His work is about space, from urban and industrial landscapes to natural settings filled with spirits. The artist settles himself in places of memories.
His photographic work on the subject of vanities was presented for the first time at the Loo & Lou Gallery in June 2018 on the occasion of the exhibition Impermanence. They will come has another reflection around the crucifixes of Catherine Wilkening. He also exhibited his works during a solo exhibition at Loo & Lou Gallery in November 2018.
Jean-Christophe Ballot has built his body of work on a creed: that photography is, in the words of Roland Barthes, a “That-has-been”. This determination to grasp and make visible time’s work, which directed his work, lead the artist to measure himself explicitly with the Vanities. Whether the rituals are Christian or animist, we find the skull as a reality as well as a motif of the universal memento mori (a reminder that you will die).
“My photographs question memory, they relate to the history of these places and their transformations. What is essential is exercising a relationship with the void, which is at the center of all my photographic works, and my reflection. I am looking to suspend time and create photography that is contemplative.”
— Jean-Christophe Ballot