René Dantes was born in 1962 in Pforzheim. He first studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, but soon turned to sculpture because he was fascinated by three-dimensionality. This was followed by a seminar on sculpture at the International Summer Academy for Fine Arts Salzburg and a study of sculpture at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Continuity on the one hand and slow constant change on the other, accompanied by the tireless exploration of new ideas of form and design, are fixed constants in the work of René Dantes. In the development of his sculptures, he moves on the thin line between association and abstraction. René Dantes lives and works in his hometown of Pforzheim.
We wanted to get a deeper insight into sources of inspiration and working methods and asked some questions:
Who and what inspires you?
I am mainly concerned with the subject of `man´, the representation of `the human´ in his essence, in his being.
A professor of anatomy once gave me the tip and said `take clay in your hand´ - that was the introduction to the three-dimensional and it opened up a world for me that I still enjoy today. The theme was always the representation of the human being. In the beginning in a very realistic way, then more and more after Picasso, who once said: `art lies in omitting´. That´s something that still occupies me today.
How do you proceed with your work?
The starting point of every work is a multitude of sketches, drawings and models. It´s about working out a clear idea - of the charisma and of the essence of the later sculpture. Only when I have a very clear picture in my mind´s eye do I get to work.
When I am in the middle of my work, I find myself in my own world, like in a tunnel or under a bell. It´s all about approaching what you thought and imagined before, piece by piece. There is also little that could distract me.
How do you describe your art?
Here I quote Picasso again: `Art is in omission´, I not only took that to heart, but I also saw my way in it. To leave things out means to create a concentrate, to concentrate on the essential. This is actually the main effort: to peel out an essence and to feel the core.
I move on a very small terrain, where the association ends and abstraction begins. It is precisely this field that interests me most from an artistic point of view.
What materials do you work with and why?
From a sculptural point of view, I have already worked with many materials. I started with wood and stone, then I added bronze and ceramics. For about 20 years I have been working mainly with metal. My starting material is metal plates, which have the advantage that you can make almost anything out of them. This benefits me in my work, because working with stainless steel plates forces you to think abstractly in advance.
Are there colours and shapes that you prefer?
A form is like a language of form, the language of an artist.
Mine is characterised by the fact that it lives from edges, surfaces and lines, which are in the interplay of movement and clarity. These surfaces live on the one hand from their duality and their inner liveliness, on the other hand from a pure reduction. This is how you can recognize my works.
Do you want to say something with your art?
Personally, it´s not so important to me if the viewer doesn´t recognize exactly what my source of inspiration was. Much more important is what develops in him and also the fact that my objects can be interpreted and perceived in many ways. It is important to me to offer a palette of multi-layered perspectives.
What is art?
Art is a language beyond words. It is difficult to explain with words what it is that drives me to create things every day. For me, art - like music and love - is a way of approaching the mystery of life.