Odile Kinart was raised in the Belgian province of Limburg and pursued studies in plastic arts at the Academy of Genk.
She expressed her passion for literature as a secondary school language teacher. And that sensitivity for poetry would further blossom in sculpted art. Odile Kinart has been profoundly inspired by African art and Pre-Columbian cultures.
Beginning in 1990, the Flemish artist became known for her ceramic pieces. Since 1995, the sculptress has favored bronze as a material for her sculptures. The latest evolution is her works in marble and silver.
Kinart has exhibited in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Canada and the USA, and is collected in such prestigious collections as Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
Odile Kinart on her art:
"People don't recognise an artist purely as a result of his or her work. I want to express serenity, harmony, and light humour. My sculptures are spectators or dancers who dance the dance of life; they are really more like Buddhas. But I am really a workaholic, passionate and restless. I express a situation I long for, but do not have myself.
My figures are all at rest. The attributes are beds, chairs, sofas, baths or swings. My boats don't have oars. They sail along with the current, in harmony with the elements, with life itself. The names of my sculptures often refer to quiet times: timeless, time lost, time off ... just sitting there ... listening to the summer rain...
The same theme will turn into a tearjerker in one poem and can become quite moving, universal or poetic in another. The difference isn't in the subject, but in the choice and dosage of both words and breaks. Volumes, alignment and form tension are important visual art aspects.
I feel the traditional aspect of art is very important. All the vagueness and pretence surrounding art irritates me. A chair designed in pure lines and carefully built is just as much like art to me, as can be the case with cooking.
I am particularly inspired by pre-Columbian art and the old African wooden sculptures you can admire in the Tervuren museum. I find ethnic art very appealing, as it's so sober and simple, almost child-like, but with a great deal of expressiveness. The sheer joy, which has gone into making these sculptures, is also very evident. I am also a great admirer of Art Brut, of the works of art produced by psychiatric patients, like the ones on display at Gent Museum Dr Guislain and of children's drawings. I also love allotment gardens, with buxus and taxus pruned into dragons and animals. Yes, I know, we are now on the very edge of kitsch, but this is only a word, just like the ugly words artist and intellectual.
Visual arts communicate with images. If this language isn't universal and cannot be understood by people with an average level of intelligence and an open mind, then this visual language is not an effective means of communication.
There is no hierarchy between human beings and animals in my world of sculptures.
I see people and animals as living creatures without that sharp dividing line of more or less intelligence. I feel animals are much more in harmony with life than us human beings. Dogs, cats and monkeys all have a sense of humour. For example, my dog can sit on top of a hill and truly take in the landscape around him.
I truly hope my sculptures will receive equal appreciation from both people who have attended elementary school and university graduates, from both Beatrix and my next door neighbour, just as it has been achieved for the novels by Gerard Walschap, Willem Elsschot and John Steinbeck, who I have great appreciation for."
About the work:
The charm of a universal dream
The Flemish sculptress Odile Kinart evokes a world peopled with charming and benevolent beings. These peaceful characters endowed with massive heads are seated or lying down in nonchalant positions that convey warmth. The little fellows with their round stomachs and the little gals with their ample hips are lively and joyous sharing the same bath in an outburst of spontaneity and tenderness. From time to time they drift, motionless, in a canoe or lie stretched out on a comfortable bed or a soft sofa. In this way these couples benefit intensely from the pleasures of life. Wisely, they abandon the frantic pace of the city and they catch their breath in complete tranquility within their intimate cocoon.
The physical appearance of these people is intriguing because of the inventive mensuration of the head and the body. In the image of newborns, their heads are proportionally more voluminous than their bodies. But the feminine silhouettes nonetheless display the round shapes of the adult. This gives them an indefinable age. Their world is also populated with charming animals. In the image of their masters, puppy-like dogs, frogs with big eyes and other affectionate beasts radiate the same feeling of bliss.
The secret of Kinart's success is probably connected with the plainness of style and the universal nature of the story that the artist is telling us. Many Occidentals feel constrained to achieve and multiply objectives that are ever more high-performance. But in their heart of hearts the existential doubt of the necessity of these aspirations is also dawning. In a lively and playful language of forms, Kinart illustrates the attraction of a more casual way of life. This message spontaneously meets with the favor of a wide public.
The artist rarely experiences several pieces at the same time. In order to concentrate her creativity in the optimal way in an intense form, Kinart chooses not to tackle multiple creations at once, but to limit her force of expression to a single project at a time. Generally, she works directly on the clay, without any preliminary study on paper. Projects starting with a preparatory sketch have never come to life. They miscarried, because the tension that feeds the creative process was discharged prematurely.
About the technique:
The secret of the extremely polished appearance of the sculptures
The appearance of Odile Kinart's sculptures in bronze is so highly polished that people sometimes ask questions about the techniques used. That is why the artist briefly explains how she obtains this final result.
For the first phase, I produce a model in clay. I try to polish the piece created in this way to the maximum extent possible, but inevitably small irregularities remain on the surface. From the clay model the molder, Guy Cuypers, makes a negative mold in silicon, supported by a negative mold of plaster. Thanks to the double negative mold, the molder produces a positive model in plaster, where the holes, the bubbles and other irregularities are retouched. Subsequently we return to work on the piece.
Based on the plaster model, a new negative mold in silicon is produced. From this second reworked negative mold, Guy Cuypers makes a positive model in wax. This hollow wax piece is then wrapped in a fine ceramic powder. When the whole piece is heated, this fine powder becomes as hard as stone. The wax melts and escapes through drainage channels. Then it is time for the caster to pour the liquid bronze.
After hardening and cooling, the bronze sculpture is released, and the chiseler, Tillo Balis, sees to the polishing of the work, using various scouring techniques. When the sculpture is completely polished, we pass to the treatment with the sander, which prepares the statue for finishing. The final phase, but crucial for the warm appearance of the work, is executed by the finisher, Wim Buyse.
The finisher removes the grease from the sculpture and applies a base patina. Depending on the color effect desired and the hot terracotta shades, under the flame of a blowtorch he applies the last layer of the patina based on acid solutions. As soon as the desired effect is obtained, the work is washed, rinsed, dried and waxed. Bronze sculptures are the result of the work of a group of craftspeople. For this reason, it is a very human form of art. The contribution of these specialists is an important step for my works. I am extremely grateful to them.
Lineart Ghent - 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000;
Classic Kortrijk - 1995, 1997, 1999.
Holland Art Fair The Hague - 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000;
Kunst RAI Amsterdam - 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
Pan Amsterdam - 1997, 1998;
Art Rotterdam - 2000.
Salon de l' art contemporain - 1998.
St'Art Strasbourg - 1998, 1999, 2000.
Art Cologne - 1993;
Ambiente Frankfurt - 1996;
Art Multiple Düsseldorf - 1997.
Europ'Art Geneva - 1998, 2000;
Kunst Zurich - 2000.
Arte Padua - 2000.
Lebanon FIAD Beyrouth - 2000; Artual Beyrouth - 2000.