About the Exhibition
Public Art Fund announces The Horses, the first institutional exhibition in the United States by the French artist Jean-Marie Appriou, opening on September 11 in Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park. Inspired by the site and its numerous equine references – including the traditional gilded bronze equestrian monument to William Tecumseh Sherman by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and the horses who pull tourists through the park in hansom cabs – the exhibition will feature three new whimsical large-scale sculptures of horses cast in aluminum. Appriou is known for his intuitive approach to sculpture and experimental use of cast aluminum, where unexpected details emerge. The Horses exemplifies Appriou’s remarkably expressive style and will invite the public into an imaginative world where figuration and mythology meet. Jean Marie-Appriou: The Horses by will be on view September 11, 2019 – August 30, 2020 at Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park.
"Jean-Marie Appriou's unconventional approach to sculpture is almost alchemical," says Public Art Fund Associate Curator Daniel S. Palmer. "His craftsmanship is informed by a deep knowledge of the historical lineage of sculptors that have preceded him. At the same ti-me, Appriou’s equine sculptures are otherworldly, evoking the silent majesty of horses with nu-anced sculptural details that flicker between narrative and poetry.”
With his transformations of material and unusual manipulation of form, Appriou’s sculptures reveal the potential of traditional material for figuration, texture, and evocative, non-narrative story-telling. Appriou often leaves traces of his casting process visible, embracing his tangible rela-tionship to the medium itself. He creates compelling ensembles of human, animal and plant forms with an expansive array of cultural and art historical references, drawing influence from the 19th century Symbolist movement in Europe, among others. Over the last few years, the artist has been exploring the possibilities of cast aluminum. Appriou’s experiments began with melting cans in homemade kilns in his backyard, and more recently, he has created large-scale cast works that are increasingly complex. With The Horses, Appriou will continue his exploration of the natural world translated into impressive aluminum sculptures.
Appriou, who grew up in rural Western France, is drawn to equestrian references from Western culture and art, as well as humanity’s long relationship with horses stretching back to the first domestication of the animal. Les Amants au Boi will portray a rendezvous of two intertwined horses with their legs forming an almost forest-like environment below for audiences to wander through; Le Joueur will depict a horse reclining in a sphynx-like posture, a reference to the mythical creature that has inspired generations of artists; and Le Guerrier will emphasize the horse’s muscular and elegant form by elongating its body into a curved gateway, inviting park-goers to pass through and examine the delicate details of its veins and mane. The three sculptures will range in size, from 16 feet tall to 16 feet in length, and by grouping the large-scale horse together at the entrance of Central Park, Appriou will create a mysterious, dream-like atmosphere that will offer viewers the opportunity for discovery.
Jean-Marie Appriou: The Horses is curated by Public Art Fund Associate Curator Daniel S. Palmer.