André Raboud's work is centred around his knowledge of the technique of direct carving and of the respect of the material he uses most, stone.
His journeys and the people he has met along the way stand as the milestones of his aesthetic evolution and growth.
Andre was born in Strasbourg on the 6th of April 1949, from a french mother and swiss father. Then in later life, he moved to Monthey in Switzerland.From 1969 onward he worked exculsively with stone. The same year exhibiting his works in Galerie de La Salle centrale in Monthey.
In 1972, he got married with the french organist Marie-Christine Theurillat.
He started his work through formal research focused on agression and concentration on the body and its pleasure. He returned from Crete in 1974 with a new dictionary made up of emblematic signs, marks, forms,autels, axes and horns. His friend and sculptor Marco Pellegrinis passing and a trip to Central South America in 1978 would hault Andres creating of sculptures characterized by a deep formal aesthetic with focus mainly on the sensuous. His work would then evolve to more symbolic matters, sacrificial tables and tombstones. In 1979, for the 10 year anniversary of his work in stone carving, he organized an open air collective exhibition in the Tour de Duin park in Bex.
It's during this never ending search focused on recumbent statues, sacred places and places of passages, that his three daughters, Marie , Emilie and Melina are born in 1981 and 1982. 1983 marks the opening of his solo exhibition in Pierre-Gianadda Fondation in Martigny. From 1985 to 1988, his main creativity revolved around the Celt civilisation and mythology. In 1989, the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts of Sion celebrates "Twenty years of sculpture".
From his journeys to Japan in 1990 and 1992, he brought back an impressive series of sculptures made out of lava and serpentine, exploring the field of (The Shouting Man), after a decisive visit to the Atomic Bomb Museum in Hiroshima.
Many of his black granit and serpentine works arose from attributes in japanese philosophy especially the 'Art of Gardens'. It was in Japan that André Raboud produced a series of monumental artworks almost exclusively made of black granit. It was also in Japan that he learned of the tragic accident that cost his daughter Melina her life in September 1992. From then on, he would progressively evolve on his aesthetic, basing the dialogue on materials and their superpositions within, to focus on a more personal and silent creation.
In 1993 he produced an important series of studio sculptures made in serpentine and quartzite under the title "Gate for an angel". His attention was on the direct confrontation between the shattered stone and polished or carved surfaces. In 1999, to celebrate thirty years of sculptures, André Raboud returned to la Tour de Duin, for his main solo exhibition, followed by very positive and prestigious publications.
Starting in 1999, were his generous and prolific productions: The Young Girl and the Death, The Memory and the Sea, Young Girls and The Great Passages.These productions posed as symbols that tirelessly haunted his work and fed his repertoire. Today, this formal repertoire revolves more and more around the aspects of the Lovers, Great Steles and Monoliths, all made of Indian or African black granite.
During these last years, many monumental sized commissions will testify its recognition, a number of exhibitions have flourished, especially in south of France, in Swiss Valais and in New York. Forty years after the 1969's exhibition in the Theatre de la Ville in Monthey, André Raboud presented "Forty years of sculptures" in 2009. This retrospective shows clearly the intricacy and reflection of a personal evolutionary path that his sculptures are. The whole production, the evolution of his works through different materials research and his very own stone carving quest depicts a very constructed art, of great symbolic intensity, where a strong essentialist determination cohabits with a deep emotionnal capacity.
by Nicolas Roubaud.
The Marble's Smile
The sculptor contemplates marble. From its limestone geological origins to a living being.
In french, the word marbre originates from the latin marmor derived from the greek marmoros meaning "white stone". Linguists linked this word with marmairein whose mar- root word exists in marici sanskrit to give the idea of a "ray of light", conveying the meaning of "glowing" and even "shining".
From Antiquity to late XVIIIth century, marble was believed to have the ability of growth and rebirth, to the extent that it was thought that it could even refill the quarries depending on the amount being excavated. Pliny the Elder wrote it as many others did after him. André, on his side, celebrated its seventy year old birthday. He dealt with milestones of misfortunes and hard work, and also with milestones of ecstasy and disarray, his own biographical sediments.
When some are disposing of them through the blowing winds of nothingness, André tells them to the stone, through two succesive aspects. Starting with a 7500e per cubic metre block of stone,then morphing into a sculpture that can express confidence and vows. And the whisper. May my existence be an artpiece after me. May it enchant my contradictions and make them fluid. May she transcend my weight into the splendor of the flight. And protect me.
Marble then starts to live - and a smile is touching it.