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  For this post-graduate dissertation, in describing the works that mark out my artistic carreer, I have insisted above all on the aesthetic and anthropological dimension. Much less on the technical dimension, except when it seemed important.

  At the end of the 1980s, it was a somewhat crazy bet to remain stubbornly attached to sculpture, in particular by concentrating on a single medium: wood, with traditional tools for a practice as old as the world: carving. Except that, from an aesthetic point of view, by hollowing out the tree, by ridding it of a mechanistic vision of wood, by making it a trajectory rather than a static object, I have deterritorialized it.

  The french physicist and philosopher Etienne Klein, when he saw one of my sculptures made from an ash tree that had been struck by lightning, which I had hollowed out, leaving only two annual growth rings, described these two rings as "two cosmic lines in a space/time."
En passant– 2018 – Douglas fir – 90 x 85 x 410 cm.
A production process

  I crossed the forester’s influence area, I stopped at the work of the lumberjacks. In their gesture, cutting down a tree, I slipped mine, hollowing it out. Somewhere in the forest, a pile of wood. Starting from this pile, as if it were a puzzle, I find back the original form of the trunk. Then, on each log, I select 2 to 12 growth rings chosen in the heartwood. Then I hollow out. In the end, only the selected growth rings will remain. In place of mass and inertia, appears a void that reveals the energy needed for the tree to grow over a certain period of time.

"He put himself before the distinction man-nature, before all the markings that this distinction conditions. He does not live nature as nature but as a process of production. There is no more man or nature, but only process which produces the one in the other."

                                    Gilles Deleuze Félix Guattari – L’anti-Oedipe – Les Éditions de Minuit. Page 8.
The Aleppo pine the neglected one that black relieves – 2020 – 70 x 60 x 330 cm – Collection Domaine Bunan, Bandol.
Community setting of a work

   When I was invited to make an in-situ installation for the Fête de Mai in Belgium, I simply told the organizers that I would be hollowing out a fallen tree during a storm. I have never had a tree cut down to make a work. I asked them to choose the tree and the site where to install the work. I arrived in Belgium without knowing which tree I was going to work on and on which site the work would be installed.
  Everything in the realization of Top of May has been a matter of trust, of collaboration between organizers, elected officials, the inhabitants of the community of Gesves, an entrepreneur and an artist.

  A forester was commissioned to choose the tree. His choice was a Japanese red pine, badly damaged by the devastating storm that hit part of Europe in late December 1999. I hollowed out the trunk, in full view of everyone, in a farmyard, which led to public participation and numerous exchanges. The question of the final installation of the work remained unresolved until the collective decision to install the work along a road, at the edge of a field, at the top of a hill offering a breathtaking view. The question was how to make the work stand up high without compromising the aesthetics.
   They couldn't decide, so I suggested that the work (about 10 meters high) be tilted at 12 degrees by a clever system of tubing slipped inside. I added that if an engineer could calculate this for us, it would be fantastic. A man came forward and said he could do the calculations. He was an engineer by training. He took the measurements of the work, which was almost finished, lined up on the ground. 18 sections of wood, 50 cm long, completely hollowed out, put end to end, reconstituted the initial shape of the tree. The engineer came back later in the day and told us that it was quite possible to make the work stand at a 12 degree angle by holding it with steel tubes inserted in the hollowed out trunk. The whole thing was held down by a cubic meter of concrete poured into the ground. The organizers indicated that they did not have the means to produce this installation. The engineer, who is also an entrepreneur, said he would take care of all the production and installation of the work. This is how Top of May came into being. 
Top of May– 2001 - Japanese Red Pine – 1100 x 45 x50 cm - Haltinne, Belgium.
Without fixed dimensions

Top of May is a sculpture that involves dimensions, depths and distances that the viewer cannot dominate. It is because he does not dominate them that he feels an attraction. The sculpture includes in itself differential point of view. The viewer is part of the sculpture that transforms and deforms itself with his point of view.
Top of May – 2001 - Japanese Red pine – 1100 x 45 x50 cm - Haltinne, Belgium.
 A Capella - Project for a Chapel

  Regarding the chapel as a place of exhibition, I made a sketch of a work that can take place in any chapel. On the drawing, 9 pieces of trunks spread across the space. 6 in the air, 3 fixed to the ground. The trunks segmented in 4 then hollowed out face each other 3 by 3. Each time, one starts from the ground, the other from a wall and the third from the ceiling (the shape of a three-bladed propeller). The diameter and length of the sections are approximately the same. The final size of the work will depend on the interior volume of the building.
  The central void, where all the segmented and hollowed out tree sections converge, is at eye level. The spacing between each set of sections (each "helix") is 2 to 3 meters. The viewer will be able to go from one trunk to another, wandering inside the work. The sketch presents the sculpture from only one angle, the one from which one approaches it when entering the chapel. One must therefore imagine all the other angles of view, mentally crossing the sculpture in all directions.
  The repetition of the forms in 3 identical but shifted movements makes the work seem to unscrew itself in space.
A Capella – 2001 – Preparatory sketch.
A Capella – 2001 – White oak – St-Evarzec Chapel, Quimper.
  I am always amazed that the realization of a sculpture is consistent with a drawing on a sheet of paper or a computer screen. A sentence by Daniel Buren in his book of interviews with Jérôme Sans (Au Sujet de... Entretien avec Jérôme Sans - Flammarion 1998) has deeply impressed me: "One does not make art with ideas, however good they may be". It took me a long time to understand that a work of art, especially a sculpture, does not illustrate, it impels a tempo, resonances, a correctness of view of the whole territory of art and contemporary concerns of the artist who lets it spring forth. It is a mode of thought in its own right.

  A Cappella is a work conceived in such a way that when one enters the chapel, one enters the work. Except that the function of the chapel, its religious dimension, establishes a hierarchy in the place where the work makes the space everywhere equal to itself.
A Capella – 2005 version – White oak – Notre-Dame de Quincy Abbey, Yonne art centre.

  Je m'oriente is an important work in my career. As soon as it was installed in the park of the manor of Verderonne, I realized that I was working on the solar dimension of trees. After having tackled the question of emptiness in the previous works, with the aim of ridding the sculpture of questions of mass and inertia, I found myself confronted with the question of light. Digging up a tree by uncovering a number of growth rings makes manifest the energy required to grow a tree over a number of years. For Je m'oriente, I left 9 annual growth rings, from 1989 to 1998. That is to say 9 years of fossilized light. I hoisted the sculpture in balance on a wall according to an east/west axis. The void inside the work absorbs the path of the sun, measuring time. In the third photo, the bands of light inside the hollowed and segmented tree trunk indicate that it is solar noon. Each tree roots the sunlight on the earth, making it fertile and habitable.

"And what is interesting in the movements of the root, is that from an astronomical point of view they allow via the plant the Sun to inhabit the Earth, because it transforms the light and the solar energy and inserts them in the earth mass. The plant roots the Sun in the Earth."
                                             Emmanuele Coccia - Excerpt from an interview published in the magazine Pour La Science. October 2018.
Je m'oriente – 2002 -  Tree – 400 x 70 x 60 cm. Verderonne Art Center.

    At the forest's edge, some trees that have just been cut down. The trunks cut in sections of 1 meter long are carefully piled up along the path which borders the forest. These are alders. This pile of wood immediately becomes for me a puzzle in 3 dimensions from which the initial shape of the cut trunks can emerge. I found the owner who agreed to sell me the whole. I managed to reconstitute 3 trunks: a trunk of 11 meters, another of 9 meters and the third of 7 meters. Started in July 1998, the artwork was completed in May 2003.  As the hollowing out progresses, the sculpture takes shape. The first hollowed out trunk, I put it on the ground with a space of 6 cm between each section which readjusts the whole in the double resonance of the emptiness and the initial shape of the tree: a segmented curved line, articulated which extends on 15 meters (photo opposite). It will be the same for the two other trunks which can be installed in height. (top photo)  

  The whole forms a single sculpture placed in the space according to the configuration and the possibilities that the place offers. The tree here is no longer a totem, a more or less voluminous "character" that would face us. In this artwork, the trunks are trajectories. We are no longer facing the tree, we follow it.
Alders - 2003 - alder, three elements. Alder 1 (below) 1500 x 40 x 30 cm - Alder 2 (above in the background (1000 x 35 x 30 cm) -
Alder 3 (above foreground) 780 x 40 x 30 cm.

  Since 2004, under this title, I produced 8 works, numbered from 1 to 8.
  For the one shown here, I started with 5 branches of charcoal, recovered after pruning a hedge by a gardener. I took the branches and threw them ten times in the air. Each time the branches fall to the ground, I take a photograph. Then I ask a third person to choose the photograph he likes best among the 10. I place the branches on the wall according to their arrangement in the chosen photograph.
  The photographs are lined up on the wall in the order they were taken. The branches, hollowed out on the visible side, are installed near the selected photograph.
  An interference is the superposition of two vibratory phenomena of neighbouring frequencies and the resulting effect. Here it is the interference of two gestures which are superimposed to finalize a work.
Interference 3 -  2004  -  5 charcoal branches between 27 and 38 cm – 10 photographs (20 x 30 cm)  printed on dibond. 100x390cm. Private collection.
Interference 3 - Detail  - photographs 3, 4 (the one selected) and 8.
Interférence 6 -  2020  -  5 laurel branches from 40 to 60 cm – 10 photos (16 x 21 cm)  printed on dibond - 90 x 225 cm.
Interférence 5 -  2020  -  5 laurel branches  from 47 to 70 cm – 8 photos (16 x 21 cm) 
printed on dibond - 90 x 180 cm.
Interférence 4 -  2005  -  5 hazelnut branches from 27 to 43 cm – 10 photos (20 x 30 cm) printed on dibond. 100 x 400 cm.

    4 segmented and hollowed trunks are suspended at the 4 corners of an aluminum structure. The trunks, stripped of their mass and their natural inertia, turn slowly on themselves while converging towards the center of the work.

  « A haunting but nevertheless subtle presence, the tree in Daniel Van de Velde’s work seems to have divested itself of its ancient burden of symbols and meanings, at the same time as it divested itself of its own substance. Neither totem, nor column - even lifted itself off the ground, whirling - its very verticality is called into question, and this « axis of the universe » now floats free, unfettered by ancient cosmogonies. Here, suspended by ropes over a path; and there, placed almost carelessly between the fork of a tree and a garden wall; sometimes passing sideways through walls, partitions and roofs: his work always respects initial form scrupulously, while, paradoxically, being in complete opposition to any idea of putting down roots. This object of « primary virtues », as described by Bachelard, which brings together elements and natural energies, always taking up the same central space and safeguarding the world’s stability, is dematerialised, deterritorialied, and in a certain way, demystified. »
                                         Colette Garaud – Author and art critic
D’évidence - 2004  -  4 trunks (Aleppo pine and maritime pine), 4 engines, an aluminum structure. 230 x 230 x 230 cm.

  This poem in 3 parts, conceived as a triptych, is the repetition of the word mountain in the 3 languages of Switzerland: Italian, German and French. Respectively from left to right. The word is repeated the same number of times in the three parts. The letters are colored, starting from a blue modulated from the darkest to the lightest as one approaches the center of each part of the poem to the point that the words in these areas are no longer visible or readable. Their disappearance gives way to a luminous radiation.
Mountain – 2005 – digital print – variable dimensions depending on support – Chandolin (Switzerland)
Discerner – 2005 - Maritime pine – Each element: 350 x 50  x 50 cm approximately – Notre-Dame de Quincy Abbey, Yonne art centre.

   During a first visit to the Cistercian abbey Notre-Dame de Quincy, I noticed the absence of the cloister and the church without feeling any lack in the global perception of the site. The space/time continuum, of cosmic quintessence, integrates nature and society. I thought and realized Discerner as an architectural outline which does not take support on the site but takes part in what characterizes it. A sculpture thought and realized as  an atmospheric silhouette.

  It is a work with variable geometry. If we consider its global volume, it is above all, a void where elements of the plant world direct the glance: 4 chestnut trees and 4 trunks of maritime pine segmented and hollowed out, linked the time of an exhibition.
The hollowed trunks, inclined at an angle of about 30 degrees, are installed in such a way as to give the impression of crossing the chestnut trees. By extending them, they meet at the same point, in height.
The title Discerner (to discern) means to discern something that stands out from an environment while integrating with it.

Discern – 2005 - Maritime pine – Each element: 350 x 50  x 50cm approximately  - Notre-Dame de Quincy Abbey, Yonne art centre. Above: overview. Opposite: detail.
 An exhibition space divided into 3 areas. I made a hole in the two walls facing each other. I slipped an alder trunk into it, hollowed out and segmented into 10 sections of 50 cm, held together by steel rods, leaving a space of 6 cm between the 10 elements. Wherever you are in the art center, it is impossible to have a global vision of the work.
The sculpture is both supported by the architecture and crosses it without being subject to the proportions of the space. A segmented and hollowed out tree trunk, a hybrid artifact, retains its own proportions: those that the tree needed to optimize its growth. This is one of the reason I enjoy working with trees. They give the measure of the works. I don't have to think over scale, proportions, projection in space because the trunk already contains all that. The sculpture is neither image, nor illustration, nor abstraction. It is a fragment of the universe that bursts into the world of art while keeping its physical and biological characteristics.
Passe-muraille – 2005 – Alder – 550 x 65 x 50 cm. Centre d’art Passages – Troyes.
Private collection.
   When the gaze slides inside the work that crosses the three spaces (see previous page), the architectural division of the space is cancelled out in favor of an indeterminate point visible at the other end of the work. The trunk, segmented and hollowed out, is not a telescope. Thanks to the spacing between each section, the light arrives inside the trunk in an inverted spiral that continuously feeds the eye where it lands. It is a way to reveal the cosmic dimension of our gaze. Seeing then becomes an act of reconnection with the universe.
Passe-muraille – 2005 – Alder – 550 x 65 x 50 cm. Passages art center – Troyes. Private collection.
Trajectory, fair measure and monumental art

   Concerning  my installations, I don't speak about monumental art. I do with the volume and the length that the trunk and the branches offer me. They have a "natural" scale which corresponds to a volume of growth over a determined time.
  If we want a world where humans, non-humans and "quasi-objects"1 coexist, we must find new scales of measurement. When I make an outdoor installation, I am more concerned with making the segmented and hollowed-out trunk appear as a trajectory in the viewer's field of vision than as something monumental. When the viewer is facing the sculpture to the point of seeing inside it, it becomes a contained void that absorbs his or her gaze.1 – The notion of quasi-objects developed by Bruno Latour in his book We Have Never Been Modern, Éditions La Découverte.
Engranger – 2005 - Maritime pine – 50 x 45 x 640 cm - Notre-Dame de Quincy Abbey, Yonne art centre.
 Let’s dance

   Can we sit down ? was conceived for a dance company. The choreographer was working on a show with 5 dancers. He wanted a sculpture on the stage. I asked the dancers to go to a pruning area near the dance studio. They brought back oak branches, each one longer than the next. I hollowed out the branches, which made them very flexible. I attached them together. I placed a cushion at each corner held together by a flexible steel rod. The structure was suspended about 60 cm from the ground. At the slightest impulse, the structure started to move in all directions because of the flexibility and the "capricious" shape of the branches. It was dancing. I designed it for that.  I wanted the natural materials to enter the dance through this work. An artistic collaboration between branches and human beings who have the same ontological "value" for the time of a scenography. The choreographer refused: he wanted to keep the control of his choreography.
    No matter, I had the opportunity to show this work in an art center, to put it in the middle of a pond, to suspend it in height between two alleys of plane trees. I let it live, waiting that the question of the territories sharing between humans and non-humans resurfaced in an another form. I had added cushions to the branches so that the spectators, seated, could mentally project themselves sitting on stage between the branches and the dancers. I finally called it: Can we sit down? because when it was first exhibited, this question came back like a leitmotiv in the mouth of most of the viewers...
Can we sit down? 2004 – 5 oak branches, 5 cushions. 80x550x630cm.
A metaphysical breach, a breakthrough. A hollowing out of oneself.

    First a gesture, to carve, which acts the hollowing out. The hollowing out of a medium which by reverberation becomes the hollowing out of oneself. Sculpting then takes an existential dimension which "aims at a performative reintegration of an essentially synthetic consciousness to a cosmos which unifies without slackening "1. It is no more the res extensa "imagined "2 by Descartes, modulable to infinity by a res cogitans. "It" takes the place of "I" and is self-determined, within the "pure experience" that reality realizes with itself through "our" experience of "things"." 3
   Consequently, to sculpt is "to follow the material to let oneself guide where it leads us", "to let oneself instruct by the world".  Tim Ingold (Make, anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture)

1 - Michel Dalissier about Nishida Kitarô in Philosophie japonaise, le néant, le monde, le corps. Page 249.
2 - Bruno Latour - Cogitamus six lettres sur les humanités scientifiques - page 142: "In what remains the most astonishing "novel of matter" ever written, Descartes, alone in his stove (which means, as you know, connected to the whole European experimental community of his time), is going to imagine - I say imagine - the res extensa such as the res cogitans manages to think it - yes, to think it. Note it well, it is about the idea of the res extansa, since, in spite of the small word res, it is not a thing, a domain of the reality, but well and truly an idea, and even an idea produced by "this madwoman of the house" that is the imagination.
3 - Michel Dalissier - opus cite. Page 249.
Japanese Red Pine – 2006 – Japanese red pine – 550 x 55 x 60 cm. Kamiyama (Japan)
Kair Kamiyama museum collection.
  Japanese Red Pine is a work made in the forest on the island of Shikoku in Japan near the city of Kamiyama where it has been installed since November 2006. Starting from a felled tree, I reconstituted the trunk, cut into 10 sections about 50 cm. On the two slices of each section, I updated 5 annual growth rings. These rings correspond to the energy necessary for the growth of the tree over 5 years. 5 years of fossilized light, from 1998 to 2003, since the tree is the only living organism capable of partially fossilizing itself to continue to grow with minimal stress  of energy (see the works  biologists  Francis Halle and  Stefano Mancuso).  Some  thing has  had  location  in the past who  just stay  as such physically
present in the work: a volume of fossilized light that takes shape through the void. The artefact is no longer what opposes nature and culture but what links them. who reconciles them. It's not  therefore not a traditional, industrial vision of wood, considered as a material that we would have eternally. The finitude of life on earth, the finitude of materials in the Anthropocene era, responds to a new aesthetic appeal that singles out matter, makes it unique in each of its manifestations.
Japanese Red Pine – 2006 – Japanese red pine – 550 x 55 x 60 cm. Kamiyama (Japan) Kair Kamiyama museum collection.

    Visiblement is an artpiece made with natural raffia marouflaged on linen canvas. The raffia fields on the island of Madagascar become, after the harvest, a field of view somewhere in Europe. The work unfolds from a central point that orients the curve of the raffia, the size of the linen canvas and the spacing between them.
Visiblement – 2006 – raffia on linene canvas. Galerie Le Garage, Lorgues.

  Logs of wood become, after being carved, a shaft of light that draws the gaze through two compartmentalized spaces, "in a vertiginous fall "1. The viewer measures the emptiness as much as he is measured by this emptiness that the work articulates in an organic way. The sculpture looks at us in the same way as in the painting of Jan Van Eyck, The Man with the red turban: "the subject fixes the one who looks at him with this intensity of which Nicolas de Cues will say that it did not allow him to escape from it", "the portraiture does not stop to look at the looker "2
  A relationship between two human beings implies a face-to-face. A tree is motionless. It may  move, but  it ordinary stay on the same place. It doesn't need to face.
   In its way of capturing the other trees, the sunlight, of taking part in its environment, it uses a system of networks in its subterranean parts, chemical emulsions in its atmospheric part and solar collectors in its high parts. It is connected to the universe to which the physicist Carlos Rovelli "recognizes simultaneously physical properties and semantic properties".

1 – according to Sabine Puget during a public presentation of this work that she acquired.
2 – Horst Bredekamp – image act theory. Editions La Découverte. Page 72.
By Horst Bredekamp, I also read Darwin's Corals, where the author explains, with supporting illustrations, that Darwin, by abandoning the tree of life as a model of biological classification, in favor of corals, arrives at his theory of evolution. A traditional vision of the tree often leads to dead ends...
Untitled – 2008 – parasol pine – 335 x 100 x 95 cm – Private collection, Fox-Amphoux.

  I don't have a studio. I don't need it. I don't like the idea to monopolize a place to make it an artist's studio at a time when our relationship to the world is distorted and when social and environmental imbalances are commonplace. I prefer nomadism, which consists of going from one place to another with a backpack full of tools. From the town of Beausoleil to an island in Greece. From a forest in Japan to an abbey in Brittany. From a wine estate in the Var to a farmyard in Italy.
Sans titre– 2007 – Plane tree – 50  x 60 x 215 cm – Parc du château de Blacons – Private collection.
    I make this kind of installation above, because the hollowed out and segmented tree, which has become a "visual tool "1 in its own way, is not a static work but a trajectory. To immobilize it in a traditional posture would make it a piece of furniture. However, I do not speak about art in-situ simply because through the question of the tree, one would arrive at the paradox of a rooted work.

1 – term used by Daniel Buren to describe his famous bands.
Untitled – 2007 – Alder – 550 x 65 x 50 cm – Parc du château de Blacons – Galerie Arbre de Vie.
    My poetic work is focused on time. Opposite and following pages, two poems on the days of the week.
    I wrote this opposite when I was a teenager. Finally being nothing but a being to be another being, in the form of a column without beginning or end. By reading it over and over again, it determined this need I had to modify my life trajectory to become who I am today. The first two days of the week are enough to describe the alienation of the time undergone when we are no longer in agreement with what conditions our existence. These two stanzas are crossed by a need for metamorphosis which conditions the column without beginning nor end.

  On the next 3 pages: 27, 28 and 29, the second poem. Here again a writing in column. The text is the days of the week. From the second page, the second letter of each day is replaced by a number. Then from the moment it becomes a two-digit number, two letters are replaced. And so on. The numbers replace the repetitive nomenclature to actualize a dizzying relationship to time. The hue, a variation from the lightest to the darkest of the same tone of green, orients the view, feeds the gaze with luminous vibrations as if the poem were an extension of the world.
Forests in shreds

    A storm called Klaus hits the Landes in January 2009. Result: A desolate landscape, bruised people. In June of the same year, I was asked for an intervention during the Uzeste festival. I titled it : Don't Get Knocked Down. (see text opposite)

  From 1999 with the storms Lothar and Martin to the floods of the Argens in 2019, hurricanes, heat waves, floods, forest fires have provided the raw material for many of my sculptures which thus act out climate change. If I give form to some fallen trees, I have no illusion of bringing anything back to life. My sculpture, organic in nature, simply acts the fact that we live on and through a living organism
1 – James Lovelock, The earth is a living being, the Gaia hypothesis – Champs Flammarion.

“The air, the oceans, the glaciers, the climate, the soils, everything that we have made unstable, interacts with us. We have entered geohistory. This is the time of the anthropocene. With the risk of a war of all against all. The old nature disappears and gives way to a being whose manifestations are difficult to predict. »
Bruno Latour, Facing Gaiä, eight conferences on climate change. Editions La Découverte.
    « Daniel van de Velde  will have successfully rendered readable, visible and intelligible something which, without art's ruse would have remained untold, been stifled, or never even surfaced. That which would doubtless be imperceptible without poetry. A manner of being without being. A form of vivid presence founded on silence as absence in a clearing. An island for an ex-nihilo, a bottomless nothing mid-way between an all and a complete nothing. Fearless facing the empty void. »

Karine Vonna-Zurcher.
Untitled -  2009 - Scots Pine – 70 x 40 x 45 cm. Abbey of Coat Malouen.
Untitled -  2009 – Holm oak – 65 x 60 x 450  cm. Abbey of Coat Malouen.
Growth modulation – 2009 – 46 x 60 x 53 cm – Domaine de La Roche Jagu.
The forest that hides in the tree that hides in the forest (detail) - 2011 - media library of Ste-Maxime.
The forest that hides in the tree that hides in the forest (detail) - 2011 - media library of Ste-Maxime.
New forms of metaphysics in the interstices.

  During a conversation with the poet Philippe Jaffeux, I used the term interstitial metaphysics to describe certain aspects of my work. When he asked me what I meant by that, I replied that my sculptures, through the void they contain and orient in the form of fossilized light, become physical trajectories which each lead back into the universe, metaphysics that the Greeks had located outside the world.
Prendre la Tangente – 2013 – Variable dimensions according to installation -  The trunk: 70 x 70 x 840 cm – Domaine du Rayol, Mediterranean garden.
Breaking the storm - 2014 - holm oak – 60 x 50 x 390 cm.
For John Cage – 2014 – Maritime pine - 40 x 50 x 220 cm
For John Cage – 2014 – Maritime pine - 40 x 50 x 220 cm
Untitled - 2014 – Birch – 25 x 35 x 310 cm  - Collection of the Château du Rouet.
A projection of the text as a world
This is not a book. We could even say after the fact that it's an
act reminiscent of the generic one, Matrix, the film. See What I
Mean? This is something like an unprecedented experience of
silence, manifesting itself as a present for any onlooker with the ability
to read and write, or even speak in the digital era.

This is not a book. We could even say after all that this is
an afterwards. Something resembling what Roland Barthes described as
an example of writing whose function is not only to communicate or
express but to imagine the joyous possibility of something beyond language,
a strange other-language, from another foreign-language.

This is not a book. We might even say after much consideration, that this appears to be a laboratory of forms in the form of fiction - melting
point… sulfur nitrogen hydrogen oxygen carbon…- in which we
the author and onlooker will be able to ultimately attempt to trace
something like an exquisite outline of a pile of drift, chance,
situations and varied possible configurations of our means and methods
of intervention, insurrection, a progressive and sustainable shift from our
status-statu-quo of lambda reader to effectively becoming an actor, as is
the author, of each page in this work, this piece,
this opus of said chromatic poetry.

This is not a book. Perhaps we might just dare say after the fact that this
is duly a projection of the text as world. In other words true fiction,
because fiction is fingere, because fingere is doing, because
each individual can do with each page what he/she wishes: a completed work or not, decidedly incomplete work or not, finished product or not, a
book or not with a beginning or not, an end or not. As Kostas Axelos said,
we might just believe the practice of the digital a minima that
Daniel van de Velde, amusingly, allowed himself to explore in this
work will have successfully rendered readable, visible and intelligible something which, without art's ruse would have remained untold, been stifled, or never even surfaced. That which would doubtless be imperceptible
without poetry. A manner of being without being. A form of vivid presence founded on silence as absence in a clearing. An island for an ex-nihilo, a bottomless nothing mid-way between an all and a complete nothing.
Fearless facing the empty void.

Karine Vonna Zürcher - Translated by Holly Dye
Ceci, homage à Joan Brossa – 2016 – 50 x 70 cm - print on dibon and carved apricot branches.
Text in French and Catalan.
Parasol pine burned – 2016 – Parasol pine - 95 x 90 x 250 cm – private collection,
          A contemporary look 1

       "When nothing happens, something happens anyway."
                                       John Cage .

   It's late. It's night. I'm up. I'm outside. I walk. There is no one, not even a bark. I'm lost in the countryside. Very few objects in my field of vision. The gaze acclimatizes to the night, in turn becomes nocturnal. Orchards, paths, an overabundance of fields. On the other side of the hill, a crisscrossing of valleys, forests. That's where I'm going. Instinctively, intuitively. Almost mechanically.
  I'm there. The edge is a copse which, once crossed, gives way to a forest. I immerse myself in the nocturnal indolence of the trees. I take off my shoes. I learn barefoot, to walk cautiously then in a detached way. No foreground, no background, a nocturnal tracking shot over an absence of events. I lean against a tree. There I wait for the first glimmers of dawn, to see the trunks, branches and leaves emerging from the darkness. I watch. A slow, protean gaze. It lasts an indefinite time. And as soon as it's day, I go home.

1 – this title refers to the text by Giorgio Agamben, What is the contemporary? Editions Rivage.. Pages 19 to 23 on darkness… “to perceive this darkness is not a form of inertia or passivity: it supposes an activity and a particular capacity”.
I was there before you – 2016 – Douglas pine, black paint -Cap-d'ail .

  When I sculpt, I become one with what I do, inseparable from the environment in which I work. Everything becomes unconscious again, indeterminate. I don't need to think, I don't refer to anything, I am in what I do. I don't invent, I don't imagine, I hollow out, I update. I generate time.
Branches – 2017 – maritime pine – variable dimensions.
Becoming a tree – 2017.
Lost in the forest

   I often go to the forest. In the forest I get lost, I have no sense of orientation. I get lost but it is just that I like it. I like to live in pure loss. In each of the trunks that I dig, it is both going back in time and disappearing in the part of time that falls to me. To be on earth only a stowaway who frees trajectories to make them available. The branches have trajectories that release lines of thought.
Welcome home (detail) – 2017 – oak – 400 x 400 cm.
Welcome home – 2017 – oak – 400 x 400 cm.
“Invalidate the hylomorphic model. »
                       Tim Ingold
Twice 4 centuries

   “It was through a poetry reading that I first met the artist, in the stammering semi-darkness of Béatrice Machet's garden by the river… He said an excerpt from his book, Les Transitions Narratives – 160 fragments grouped into two parts, alternating in each of them chronology and memories by snatches torn from the mists of memory, such as this one:

Une chaise sans fond m’attend au fond du bois. Je l’avais trouvée non loin de là et peut-être y est-elle encore aujourd’hui que je n’y suis plus. Je m’asseyais à califourchon, les coudes en appui, le dossier anuité. Peut-être je venais là pour attendre le bus mais je n’en suis pas très sûr. Plutôt goûter la déliquescente saveur de l’abandon, ce point d’orgue d’une dérive définitive qui tout absorbe sans cesse. Je devenais vieux. Plus vieux que le monde.

Reflections too, of which I retain the two introductory fragments giving the tone of the work:

4 – Je vis pour que quelque chose en moi ne soit plus ma propre trace. Celle-ci vacille. Je vis pour que l’oubli redevienne la flamme d’une bougie. (phrase qui revient comme un leitmotiv tout au long du livre.

160 – Le retour ? Il n’y a pas de retour. Le point de départ ? Il n’y a pas de point de départ. Le lieu de naissance ? Il n’y a pas de lieu de naissance. 160 – Return? There is no going back. The starting point ? There is no starting point. Birthplace ? There is no place of birth.
Les Transitions Narratives – 2018
Voiceeditions  (Richard Meier)
The odd, "chrono-illogical" segments accompanying this journey to an aporia spell out what seems like an imagined autobiography : "In 1965, I was one year old. In 1966, I was 2 years old...", dates scattered like the years in the work of Roman Opalka, inscribing in black and white, infinitely, the trace of the irreversibility of time. But in Daniel Van de Velde's text, continuing, upstream and then downstream, into an improbable future - "in 2363, I would be 399 years old..." which makes the speaker very uncertain thus projecting himself through two times 4 centuries... as long as we don't know the other artistic practice of the poet who is also "tree sculptor" I would say, recovering these fallen giants, digging them to restore them to the universe that their disappearance pierces. »

                                                                                                                                                          Maryline Bertoncini - published in the online magazine Le Recours au Poème (excerpt)

160 – Return? There is no going back. The starting point ? There is no starting point. Birthplace ? There is no place of birth.
Du temps devant soi – 2018 – Interdisciplinary colloquium L’Ère du Temps - University of Nice Sophia-Antipolise / CNRS.
   “Your activity as a poet and sculptor is very experimental. With it, the face of nature and quasi-nature (historical building for example) appears different. This brings out the unknown in nature, including that of human beings. That is to say, you are in an unknown apparition of poetry. That's why you're a real poet. »

Shin Tanabe,
poet, editor of the magazine Delta (Japan)
Danse avec les arbres (detail) – St-Merry Church, Paris, Nuit Blanche 2018.
Danse avec les arbres (detail) – St-Merry Church, Paris, Nuit Blanche 2018.
Danse avec les arbres (detail) – St-Merry Church, Paris, Nuit Blanche 2018.
  For the Nuit Blanche 2018, 15 segmented and hollowed trunks took over the St-Merry church. Autonomous characters, sure of themselves, they were equidistant from everything around them. They did not allow themselves to be invaded by the majesty and the proportions of the place, nor did they deny it. Trees appeared on earth 370 million years ago. Everything in them indicates, by the silent force which conditions their presence, that they do not need, on such a scale of time, a spiritual life. An insane force animates them that we find in the openwork works.

  “What is an emotion? What moves us or what affects us. Our universe shapes mighty forces and is shaped by them. In the most concrete sense, the universe is the source of all emotional forces. » 1

   As they came, these trees left.

1 – Glenn Albrecht – Earth Emotions. New words for a new world – Cornell university press.
Fréquences d’apparition
   Les Fréquences d'Apparition (Frequencies of Appearance) a series of 10 visual poems created in 2014 during an artistic residency in the Cevennes, are digital creations presented here for the first time. During this stay, the artist never stopped walking, day and night, to unburden himself of what was weighing down his existence at the time. The poems were written during more meditative downtime. In these typed texts, writing no longer serves a desire for expression or communication, moving away from its initial role, but becomes visual forms whose poetic vibration translates a multiplicity of possibilities. "

Fabienne Fulchieri, curator,
director of the Concrete Art Center of Mouans-Sartoux.
Daniel Van de Velde and Fabienne Fulchieri in front  of Les Fréquences d'Apparition - Centre d'art Concret de Mouans-Sartoux, as part of the collective exhibition Bis repetita placent - 2019
"What makes a hole in the verbalized homogeneity of the community"

One day Apelles made his way to Protogenes' workshop and traced an infra-thin line
on a canvas. That same day Protogenes returned to his workshop, saw Apelles' line
and traced an even thinner line over that line. The writing of a history of imperceptible art thus began. Perhaps…
One day Alhazen established the fact that daylight entering the eye via objects
that reflected it diffused it. Another day he invented the black box.
From then on, telling the story of optics may have changed optics, now basing itself
on the fact that all image appearing by way of reflection or refraction is an illusion, causing us to confuse nonbeing with being…
One day in Cerbère, two steps from Portbou, where a certain Walter Benjamin lies in rest, Daniel van de Velde posterized and glued here and there in public places
this enigmatic announcement: finally being nothing but a being to be another being. Several days beforehand, in Ille-sur-Têt, where the anarchist ghost of a certain Etienne Alart perhaps still roams, Daniel van de Velde and myself
had a conversation
around the idea behind the possibility of a povera approach to multimedia,
around the hypothesis of a poetics of the digital a minima, from the
series called frequencies of apparition he had presented in the framework
of the 2nd international biennale of visual poetry. His mode of writing in
over-exposed mode at first glance
had just toppled the horizon of my semiotic certitudes. I was
in fact confronted with a work without aura whose project and propos was to fully come about, erase and reproduce itself…
One day, therefore, in his war on false speech, in his What's the point of poets?,
Christian Prigent answered the question about erasing poetry in the following way: "It doesn't have to disappear, it has disappeared. I would even say:
it's always already disappeared. But this tendency to disappear
from and in social use, this manner of incarnating something which has disappeared,
formalizing what disappears - what makes a hole in the community's
verbalized homogeneity -, is poetry:
poetry, is perhaps merely that in the end."

Georges K Zenove - Translated by Holly Dye
Sans Détours is an installation made with five segmented and hollowed trunks. Four in the water and the fifth hanging vertically. This group of sculptures form a single work the time of an event. Rather than confronting them with popular places in the city of Annecy, I placed them in the Notre-Dame canal. It is the harmony between the water and the openwork trunks in a hollow space, intended to regulate the level of the lake, which gives all its meaning to this work.
Sans Détours – Annecy-Paysages 2020.
For an overview:
Untitled 2020 – Maple – 90 x 120 x 900  cm – Ravaisou Gallery, Bandol.
Sans Détours - Annecy-Paysages 2020.
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