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Lydie Arickx in her workshop 

At the end of 2020, we received a message from Lydie Arickx with whom we had been in constant contact since the exhibition “Tant qu’il y aura des ogres” at the Château de Biron.

“We spent the summer on the Chambord project and would have liked to have your opinion on this latest work. Do you think a studio visit would be possible ?” We would be delighted. Lydie !

Fantastic visit to Lydie Arickx workshop

Fearing a new confinement, we decide to visit her without delay. To be welcomed by this immense artist is an honor that cannot be refused!

She lives in a luminous house in the southwest of France near a large pond populated by herons, cranes and even storks. The house is populated by her creations as well as those of some of her favorite artists, including Jean Rustin at the entrance. But it was the visit to her immense studio that blew us away.

Workshop in the measure of Lydie Arickx work

It is the former warehouse of her father’s masonry company. Under a height of at least 6 meters, the artist stores thousands of works which testify to the incredible creativity of Lydie Arickx.

We first walk outside the studio where there are dozens of monumental works before going inside. We knew her creative power but discovering her work “in situ” allows us to understand that Lydie works as a team with her spouse Alex and her son César and that all three are constantly experimenting.

Indeed, to discover the creations of Lydie Arickx is to feel the constant risk-taking that is hers as much in terms of creativity as in materials and techniques. Listening to the fascinating explanations on the history of this or that work sometimes gives us the impression of being in a research and development office!  

Lydie Arickx loves life, not a life of comfort but a life of work, creation and experimentation.  

“We flirt with all the impossible. It’s like a bullfight. You go into the arena and you never know if you’re going to come out alive.” 

 Interview par Yves Kneusé, in « Lydie Arickx, Oublier qu’on peint » éd. Gourcuff Gradenigo, 2016

To create, Lydie Arickx takes all risks

A striking example of this risk-taking can be found in the numerous attempts to create the “Planetum” destined to be presented at the Château de Chambord in the exhibition “Arborescences” from May 30, 2021.

It is a sphere from which a multitude of entangled human bodies escape, some of which seem to be struggling and screaming. This masterful work is presented in its wax form. This material contributes with its texture and color to give the feeling of a mass of flesh struggling for life against death. It is terrifying.

The “Planetum” is an artistic challenge but also a technical one. Indeed, the trio investigated several solutions before finding the right one. Despite the failures, they never gave up and finally succeeded in finding the solution that makes this work possible by encasing it in a transparent resin. During our visit, the “Planetum” is still presented naked. We are really impressed.

Planetum, cire. Photo d'Alex Bianchi

crédit photos du Planetum : Alex Bianchi

Yannick Mercoyrol, director of programming at the Château de Chambord, explains this aspect of Lydie Arickx’s work. He wrote a chapter “the ABC of Arickx” for the book Arborescences published on the occasion of the exhibition at Chambord from May 30 to October 17, 2021. To the letter I: 

“… a fantastic inventiveness, both in the choice of materials, media, devices, dimensions “  

Yannick Mercoroyl, “ABC d’Arickx” dans Arborescences, éditions In Fine, Paris 2021

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