Standing vertically, literally planted in the ground, at the edge of a row of trees, the sculpture entitled ENFIM (2000) that Robert Schad has installed in his park is emblematic of the aesthetics of the line that underlies his approach. The work is there, as if it were native to this corner of nature, just like the other plants. When you see it, you are immediately struck by the way it is part of the landscape, emerging from the earth, reaching for the sky, animated by a vital movement that makes it fragile and resistant at the same time. The line proceeds from a sensitive geometry whose apparent rectitude is punctuated by the slightly broken succession of its constituent fragments. With a radical economy of means, it imposes itself as a manifesto of a properly ontic thought of sculpture.Complete article
Do we really know what iron is? How many centuries of invention and manual intelligence were needed to discover, isolate and extract the ore, then succeed in producing these blocks of iron and steel in forges like the one at Buffon near Montbard in the 18th century, using blast furnaces that were as architecturally splendid as they were technically efficient? From the mythological workshops of the Greek god Hephaestus to the ultra-technological steelworks currently producing millions of tons per year, a whole human phantasmagoria accompanies the different moments of this progressive work, of this artisanal and industrial manufacture where a series of human experiences are condensed in the four dimensions of our being, the body, the heart, the intelligence and the soul. As strange, even foreign to our humanity, as it may seem in its rusty colour, in its hardness, in its weight, metal is, obscurely, our neighbour, our brother.Complete article
Saturday, June 26, 2021, we are in Schad’s studio, sitting at a work table, books all around us; we have just left the place of the sculpture; I see a forest of steel trees as if intertwined and everywhere elements ready to take their place. The atmosphere is strange, everything seems confused and yet everything is planned, everything is in its place. I try to understand the invisible order that presides over what is generated there. We talk about it, it becomes didactic, I am the student. I like this moment when the strange delivers its lines of coherence, when the chaos and its heap of disparate shows the plan that resolves it. But already this, if the sculpture is resolutely abstract, the grip has the familiarity of the figure. I pose an image, here the forest, to integrate the disparate. I ask the question of how to approach, of vocabulary and syntax: “In my opinion, the line is the basis of my work, as can be seen, for example, in Krieck’s or Venet’s work, but its particularity is that, unlike Venet’s, it is unpredictable. There is a kind of evidence, but it is him who gives it; would I have found it without him? The evidence, yes, of lines delivered as if broken. But the broken line is a line, or even more the broken line is lines. I am astonished, usually I would have approached the thing through the notion of force which, traditionally, for the philosopher, is the key to sculpture. Schad sends us elsewhere where the force is said in the line, but also something else where the line is the force. The line,” he says, “is the most elementary means of expression; it is the one adopted by the child when he begins to draw. It is the means he adopts for his sculpture and just like the child the sculptor redoes the work of discovering the line. But what the child does, driven by a force that carries him and that he cannot control, the artist does in mastery. The line,” he says, “extends from the point, its minimal form, to the infinite line”. References obviously come to mind, that of Kandinsky and his definition of the point and the line which I recall here: “The geometric line is an invisible being. It is the trace of the point in movement, and therefore its product. It is born of movement – and this by the annihilation of the supreme immobility of the point. This is where the good from the static to the dynamic takes place.”Complete article
Is it obvious or is it an enigma?
The least we can say about Robert Schad’s works is that they question us Apparently simple and uncluttered, they never cease to transform themselves, rich in their contradictions, always dual… Monumental, they are also aerial. Made of steel, they have the warm glow of mahogany. So contemporary, they nevertheless display the rust of a bygone era. And when they impose themselves on us, it is immediately for our gaze to cross them. So that today, in this exhibition on the scale of a whole Region, these formidable sculptures exist in themselves as much as they question the landscape or the monument which hosts them, in its space as in its historicity…
For a very long time, like the orbits of two planets, Robert’s and my itineraries have crossed, moved apart, come closer together and, with each meeting, have rekindled our desire to work together. Without success… Yet Robert Schad’s work and his spirit fit perfectly into the editorial line of Éditions Bucciali and a certain geographical proximity could have favoured an earlier collaboration.
This shared desire finally came to fruition during the summer of 2021 with the exhibition ROBERT SCHAD DIX PAR DIX, a journey of sculptures in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté organised by Jean Greset, which will establish a two-year dialogue between Robert’s sculptures and prestigious, often historic, sites, and the art book published on this occasion.