Solo exhibition of Eric Aman, curated by Conchi Alvarez
On this occasion, this French artist, represented by STOA since 2014, returns as a sculptor, the form of expression with which he most identifies.
Eric uses a classically influenced figurative language that has its roots in both the Attic School of Hellenism, the Italian Quattrocento Renaissance (as a result of his 17 years living and working in Italy), French Classicism, and even Neoclassicism.
In this technique, which starts from modelling in clay, he moves with the ease that only a long professional career provides, in this case composing small pieces that, through the lost-wax bronze process, will be changed into imperishable works that last for eternity, as reflected in the theme chosen for this series, the always fascinating world of childhood.
The eight sculptures in the exhibition constitute a timeless story full of beauty, the creativity of children, surprised by the most intrinsic action of their age – playing. These bronzed infants use objects that are not really toys, but rather they have been transformed into novelties, or someone that has taught them how to use them that way. From the first visual contact with these sculptures, they catch the viewer’s attention and make them smile, because this is how we want and prefer to see children: playing, but much more, doing it creatively, with simple things, of every day paraphernalia, which we can imagine using anywhere in the world, because everything you need is within reach.
Since ancient times, children have played with dolls made of clay, wood or bone, representing and imitating the world of adults. This has not changed. When the child is free to create their own toy, an important part of the inspiration will gravitate to the desire to copy what adults do. This is what is demonstrated in this exhibition in most of the sculptures: the “Girl Bullfighting”, “The builder”, “The violinist”, the “Boy with clothes pegs and a slingshot”, “The drummer” and “The puppeteer”. However, there are also children who want to simply enjoy a jumping rope (“Girl skipping rope”), or communicating with small animals (“Boy with frog and lizard”).
Nothing is more comforting than thinking about those little ones who can be, synchronously, in places very far from each other, using the same pastimes, interacting with anything or any element whilst enjoying themselves, learning to play and develop their imagination.
In turbulent times, the artist, sheltered in the space of his workshop, dreams of an ideal world, surely that of his own lost childhood, idealised, like the one that the great poet Rafael Alberti longed for: “My childhood in the garden”, or that which the famous poet Antonio Machado evoked: “My childhood is made up of memories of a courtyard in Seville”. This nostalgia is present here because our artist, whilst watching his own children playing, recalls his childhood, remembering the good and releasing the bitter moments, thus gaining reconciliation with the past. That child that we all carry inside sympathises with the title of this exhibition, almost like a slogan: “Don’t give me toys, give me ideas”, take time for me, look at me, I’m here, hurry up, I’m getting older and soon I’ll stop being a little boy…