Bernard Delaval’s little interview


Back to Bernard DELAVAL‘s exhibition,
“De Teintes et d’Or” (Of Hues and Gold)


  • Your sculptures seem to come to life, to animate and move: how do you learn to look differently at the material to see the potential forms that are hidden inside?

It is through the eyes of others that my sculptures come to life. When we look at “The Bear” by the great figurative artist François Pompon, it is difficult to see anything other than the bear created by Pompon. But our eyes give it life and movement. When you look at an abstract sculpture, despite its evocative title, you are free to see anything else that passes through your mind… (and why not a bear!)

By discovering my exhibition, you will be able to catch my ”message” hidden inside … or the one hidden inside you!


  • The work of craft is a work linked to time; time to make the project, time to model, time to decorate, What is for you the time and the process of realization of works?

For me, time sequences no longer exist. There is no timetable, no established programme. The time of creation leads the whole life, it is present at any moment. In the same way that the tool does not have its own time, it is just at the service of creativity.

As for any artist, preparing the supports, nailing a canvas, sharpening the gouges, all these craft gestures are at the service of creation. The tool that forces the craftsman is guided by the technique; the artist forces the tool.


  • How did your passion for the gilding technique come about, and how did you start to make artistic works?

Gold is magic, it fascinates me but it is an impostor, it seems to be mass when it is only leaf. And it kidnaps light (Yves Klein or Gustav Klimt knew this long before I did).

A great admirer of Pierre Soulages, I have often wondered how black had condemned him to his “golden” prison: it was because he had tamed the power that black exerted over light.

After having worked with gold on wood, metal and resin, modelled clay imposed itself because it was my first mode of expression: from my childhood onwards I have been fiddling with this material.


  • How do you organise the creative process in your studio? What does this space mean to you?

It is in my studio in Lancharre, in Burgundy, which I used for 40 years to restore historical works, that I feel best to let my impressions and sensations flow, to materialise them in clay, and then to try to capture the light through gold and coloured pigments.

Everything starts with the imagination, succinctly translated into quick sketches (memory aids for the initial idea). Then comes the realization: the modelling and the sculpture, the search for a harmonious form which will capture the light by the gold and the colour. These successive stages are linked in the service of my creation.


Exhibition “De Teintes et d’Or” from 02 to 19 February 2023 at the Galerie L’Alcôve.

Exhibition “De Teintes et d’Or” from 02 to 19 February 2023 at the Galerie L’Alcôve.
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