Jephan de Villiers
Jephan de Villiers is a sculptor born in Chesnay on April 4, 1940. He divides his time between the workshop of Jolymont in Watermael-Boitsfort (Brussels) and that of Corloux in Mirambeau (Charente-Maritime). Around the age of 14, he began to collect twigs and dead leaves in his grandmother's garden near Versailles to make immense villages of earth and bark. A few years later, he filled eggshells with gouache and threw them on large black paper. In the 1960s, the discovery of Brancusi's workshop, reconstituted at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, gave birth to threadlike white sculptures which he called Structures aquatiales.
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He then moved to London where he exhibited his plaster sculptures. In 1976, during a trip to Brussels, Jephan de Villiers discovered the Sonian forest and picked up the first "wood-body" foreshadowing of the Voyage en Arbonie. From then on, everything he uses comes from this secret world of plants that have fallen on the earth where they rot, get lost and are transformed. These roots, these birch bark, these bugs, collected during his walks in the forest, will become nomadic peoples, forests on the move, angels riding giant bears. These people of dead wood advance in long silent processions, strange tribes of an imaginary territory.