This artist showcase comes from Rodolphe Hammadi. Rodolphe has been working on his ‘Weapons’ series (below) for the past seven years. He is in the process of planning exhibitions in France and working on his biggest ‘Weapon’ yet.
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When did you become interested in art and creating?
This interest coincided with my arrival in Paris in 1979 and my learning of photography. I met then the sculptor/designer Pucci de Rossi and became his assistant. Later on, I met the photographer Irina Ionesco and the painter Corneille who founded the COBRA group. During these many years of learning, I met many people dedicated to the arts.
What is your starting point for each work?
In my latest work, ‘Weapons,’ salvage is the core of my work. It always starts with a tree branch which has usually been thrown away. I often ask my relatives to bring me back a small branch of a tree from their travels abroad. For me, the branch is the main material, the backbone of my work. Without it, I cannot build my sculpture and its story.
Who/what influences your work ?
My influences are many. I draw on the great reservoir of life, through readings, past or present events, meetings etc. My last work is particularly inspired, through my interest for nature, by one of its masters: the tree. The tree never asks anything, though it gives a lot. The tree is a sign of life and of its vulnerability to the destructive impulses of man.
What do you hope the viewer gets from your work?
My ‘Weapons’ stirs dialogue, questions our relationship to things and to our history, and encourages our care about our natural environment. A close link is forged with the viewer via the objects used: a silver spoon or a couple of marbles can look at you, and call you back to your childhood. I’ve never met anyone who never climbed a tree!
What do you think about the term outsider art? Is there a term that you think works better?
‘Outsider art’ is a way to classify an art form, but does it label the artist? There are so many artists in this world, and ‘artist’ is an eternal word. My work can be classified as ‘Outsider art’ but also as ‘Singular Art.’ I’d say I’m in the ‘Outsingart’ category! Seriously, I’m fond of Asgern Yorn’s words: “The artist is a professional amateur.” The term ‘Artisan’ would suit me too.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am preparing several exhibitions in France next year, and I am starting a new piece. It is a small tree, a birch that I salvaged one year ago and that is still drying in my studio. I’m carving little clay two-heads faces that will be inserted, with many other objects, in this small tree. It is going to be the biggest of my ‘Weapons.’
Where do you see your work taking you in the future?
I’ve been working on my ‘Weapons’ for seven years now, and I still feel like each of my pieces is part of a puzzle. A puzzle of a form and size that is still unknown to me at this stage.
Below, you’ll find some detail shots of Rodolphe’s ‘Weapons’ series. Click on an image to enlarge it.