I have been following French artist Daniel Firman since 2006 when I first came across his installation called ‘Chute Libre’ or ‘Suspended. Before, I write about it further, I’d like to share one of his creations called ‘Nasutamanus’ which was recently showcased at the Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna. This life size elephant installation was created in 2008 and has been exhibited in many countries. Various versions of the installation have been shown depicting a life size elephant balancing its body weight on the trunk.
‘Chute Libre’ or ‘Suspended’ is one of my favorites. The installation explores the notion of balance and the position of the body in relation to its psychological, physical and social environment. The installation reminds us of works by artists in the 1960’s and 70’s where the human body was used as a medium rather than a subject. The absence of a face, hidden by objects or clothes, make these figures anonymous and standard. “Beyond their metaphorical and universal evocation of the submerged contemporary world, it seems these works possess a particular characteristic: they act as catalysts for situations or processes.”
“Daniel Firman’s works seem to lodge themselves inside this quality of duration, in a time that has not so much been abolished, but suspended. If it is sculpture the artist presents, what he shows is not frozen, nor inert through immobility, but rather reveals movements in a pause mode.
His works are constantly brought to life by contradictory currents, something that is clearly demonstrated by some of the titles: Scattering-Gathering, Push-Pull, Autoreverse. These fertile antagonisms feed the creative process: there is a toing and froing between positive and negative through the moulding of a single form (Mouvement, 1998; Modelé avec la langue, 1996); there are spectacular balancing acts that defy the force of gravity. Occasionally, in an inversion of classical sculpture, what ought to be the subject of the work becomes the base and the base becomes the subject (Gathering series, since 1999; Excentrique, 2005; Déflagration, 2006).” – says Marion Guilmot