Even though I have been admiring Philippe Brodzki’s statues for a long time, they never cease to take me to those far-away and yet ever so earthly worlds. Is their aura due to the clay from whence they emerged? Brodzki chose the enamels adorning this clay with a know-how learnt from several masters, from Japanese techniques and also from Mirceo Orlandini’s expertise during his lengthy apprenticeship in the master’s studio.
His art initially stems from an unusual childhood, spent in his mother’s workshop. A milliner by trade, she would design and make her own hat creations for Brussels’ fashionistas. The workshop of his high-spirited mother from the south of France was strewn with velvets, felts, silks, ribbons and wooden blocks to shape the hats. Did Philippe Brodzki discover his path in the midst of the workshop’s clutter? Later, there was the benevolent figure of his paternal grandmother who was working in the hotbed of creativity that was the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels: there, Brodzki attended incredible gatherings of international contemporary artists, including those representing Pop Art and emerging conceptual art. In this inspiring environment, he was fortunate enough to discover major artworks and to meet Marcel Broodthaers, who at the time was merely starting up but had the full backing of Brodzki’s grandmother and uncle (the architect Constantin Brodzki) who were both convinced of his talent and potential. The time spent with the Broodthaers – Marcel, his wife and children – shaped his future… To show his gratitude to the Brodzki family, Broodthaers had asked Philippe to join him in his studio in Düsseldorf. There Brodzki met Joseph Beuys whose classes he later attended at the famous Academy of Fine Arts.
His learning curve was quite unusual, as he gained technique and inspiration on his own terms. Ultimately, he settled in Brussels in a studio on Rue Wiertz, where he spent the next twenty years creating his sculptures. Always in search of new themes and effects, he first tried out the kilns of other ceramists until he got his own, when he moved to Rue Gray. His oeuvre is the result of a long battle with fire. The artist has been looking for perfection in the service of an art which, despite its unassuming manifestation, produced these splendid works.
In the footsteps of Giambologna, Brodzki was seduced by bronze casting, learning from the best in the renowned foundries of Pietrasanta. For a sculptor, working with bronze and its patina, combined with the possibility of producing series, has to be tempting. Yet, Brodzki always returned to clay, his first love, because it remained a medium with which he could experiment and discover new effects, subtly enriching his art year after year.
From a very early age, Brodzki learnt the value of being a loyal friend. His friendship with Martine Janta began many years ago. So many fun moments shared, but also much time spent working in the same workshops. Having studied at La Cambre and later married a fierce collector, Martine Janta quickly went back to drawing, and has exhibited the results of her latest efforts, often with Philippe Brodzki. Here, we discover new faces in her charcoal sketches. Those are the portraits of the creatures living in the vicinity of the former chapel converted into a sheepfold where she stayed, among vineyards and olive groves in the beautiful countryside south of Siena.
Martine Janta et Philippe Brodzki
Association du patrimoine artistique
7 rue Charles Hanssens
Jusqu’au 17 mai
Du jeudi au samedi de 14 à 18h