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A is to B what C is to D

OLIVIER DE COUX A is to B what C is to D

OLIVIER DE COUX A is to B what C is to D Analogies / Sculptures (2002-2014)

Texts: Louis Doucet Philippe Hardy Olivier de Coux Translation: Syntesis ISBN 9789082301403


“Nothing is more visible than what is hidden” Confucius



IMMOLATION. 1996, steel and wood, 50 cm


RÉSULTAT The perfect organisation of the line When I was exhibiting in South West France, in 1998, a particular person - and they will know who they are - gave a really objective and honest assessment of my work. I was trying to interpret reality in a figurative way and was forcibly struck by this person’s analysis, which envisaged something more ambitious, artistically speaking. Convinced that they had a point, I came back determined to adopt a longer-term view and a more radical approach and consequently set about looking for a more solid foundation upon which to base my work. The sculpture on page 10 is representative of my thinking in the early to mid2000s and a good example of what I was trying to achieve at the time. The clamps were meant to be soldered in place, thereby permanently compressing the elements of the sculpture; by not soldering them I was able to keep experimenting afresh. Ultimately, what the exercise amounted to was a kind of management of options. I discovered multiple possibilities, each governed by its own logic. This way of working considerably influenced my approach to, and my relationship with, sculpture, and my current position - which involves working with a set of specific constraints - is derived from these experiments.

Analogy / Analogical Sculpture C is to D what A is to B It would be reasonable to suppose that by adopting a number of simultaneous constraints, one would limit the range of one’s artistic possibilities. In fact, the very process of adopting such constraints immediately forces us to think about their combinations. I use the word advisedly, mindful of what it implies in terms of both union and analysis, since from these combinations results must necessarily follow. To be precise, I would say that what I am seeking already exists potentially, as a consequence of those constraints. If I consider the combination of constraints as a point of entry, the sculptures that arise from it constitute the point of exit. These points of entry - which are innumerable allow me to examine the different sets of results dictated by respect for this discipline. Most fascinating from my point of view are the similarities and differences intrinsic to the sculptures. The results are autonomous but also belong to a totality. It is possible to establish an analogy between the sculptures based on identical functioning, a common model despite modifications in the trajectory of the line. The sculptures are different and yet they adhere to the same logical schema. The constraints and the results are interdependent and my purpose is to push this relationship to its uttermost limits.


What I focus on in my experiments are the lines that constitute a right angle. I then have the choice of working with a square or a rectangle, each of which behaves and develops in a different way. The progression occurs within a binary schema: A - B - A - B - A.... In the case of a line forming part of a square, it will be composed of a sequence comprising a section A (length and width identical) following a section B (equivalent to the interstitial void defined by the constraints). From that point on, my work consists in organising the saturation of the space by defining the number of articulations to be used or the volume to be occupied. The point of exit, mentioned earlier, is the perfect organisation of the line, the distribution of cantilevers and the cohesion of mass and interstitial void. The line becomes a representation of something fundamental. The method I have just described is not an absolute and I do not regard it as such. It is simply one method among the very many offered up by those predecessors of mine who are scrupulously respectful of their artistic conscience and of the ‘History of Techniques’. The generations filter into one another via imperceptible transitions to give sculpture a superhuman dimension, in the sense in which it suggests the general laws of the human spirit.. F 82, 2004 Brass, 50x43x30cm.


OdCX, January 2014.

PRAYER, 1996, steel, 89 cm


WITHOUT TITLE, 2005, aluminium and clamps, 200 x 35 cm



“Nothing is more visible than what is hidden” Confucius

Every artist wants to be understood - by definition - but not totally understood. For many artists, everyday life provides the necessary impetus to their creativity, the energy that enables them to ‘break and enter’ reality and to pursue their day-to-day relationship with time. Olivier de Coux is one such artist, a sculptor who works with passionate determination, developing his own personal approach, quietly and privately, away from the mainstream. When I met him in the first studio he occupied, in Rennes, Olivier was already working with metal: metal was his resistant material, his true medium. It was his alter ego. He was using it to produce bizarre constructions such as mock-up tricycles and cars and racers, and those strange motorbikes we see him sitting astride looking utterly at home, like a cowboy in some Western. There was nothing anecdotal or fanciful about these constructions; rather, they shared that sculptural complexity which typifies Oliver’s more recent projects. I can still recall these varied forms which already carried the de Coux hallmark - how the very presence of these objects simulated speed, the movement of objects on imaginary circuits as they force their way through the air. Following on from these baroque constructions, Olivier de Coux’s work was to become more radical, but the approach and the material remained the same.


Today, this radicalisation is evident in geometric forms and mathematical abstractions that have been stripped of anything resembling a ‘story’, taking on instead a reflective function that relates to the fundamental idea of an object in space - the very definition of sculpture. Exploring the definition of sculpture is something that Olivier de Coux does quite naturally; It is a question to which he responds with characteristic rigour and which has prompted a whole series of sculptural transformations - quadrilateral elements, tightly interlocking configurations, structures positioned on the ground or on a plinth and designed to be located in a garden or in some outside public space. These objects are both sculpture and pretext: They allow Olivier de Coux to measure himself against the daylight and the dimensions of these external spaces where he positions his work, expertly, following strict rules that he applies as rigorously as a mathematician solving a mathematical problem. The process is one of slow reflection that leads him on always somewhere else and this ‘somewhere else’ then becomes the point of departure for a new sculptural work. Once in position, the sculpture develops all the reflexivity, the sense of lived life, the feeling of sentience that the onlooker perceives in it. This is what renders Olivier’s œuvre so dense with meaning. It is in the transition from the everyday rituals, the natural environment, of his day-to-day life - a life lived with intelligence - that this ascetic richness develops, and the existence of Olivier’s sculptural forms is freighted with this sense of lived life.

Olivier de Coux is a sculptor. He is a man who confronts his material and who confronts space. There are those who would willingly pseudointellectualise his work, but they have only to open their eyes to see an artist, quite simply, in the truest sense of the word - a person who creates, who makes, who turns ideas into things. Olivier eventually left that studio on the outskirts of Rennes, moving to Paris where, in the company of his wife and children and his faithful dog, he lived and worked in a small street near the Canal de l'Ourcq, in a house with wood fires and noisy neighbours. Today, he is ensconced in an old craft workshop in the country, a great rambling place with a wonderful garden and a house full of warm and inviting smells. Olivier patiently and methodically redesigned this space, one section at a time, taking down a wall here, put up two or three partitions there, reinstalled old beams to hoist his embryonic sculptures into position, until suddenly it all came together and he had a studio. Meanwhile, his daughters played in the garden, chasing the cat, and as the sun came and went so life went on. Faced with the underlying futility of life simply ‘going on’ - and this is a vitally important point - Olivier de Coux’s permanent response is one of creative malaise. He is clearly an anxious kind of person for whom creating is a means of defining his existence and this act of creation embodies the only true and honest form of questioning that we would all do well to adopt as human beings. What are we doing in this world that surrounds us? Who are we in this village where we sometimes land? How do we go on living this life that is offered us day after day? Olivier’s response to these questions is uncompromising and consists in aligning forms whose perfect

geometry - a geometry that is increasingly apparent and allows the sculptor’s exquisite sensitivity to filter through - invokes the notion of an absolute. Olivier’s public cannot fail to recognise the unflinching honesty of his work. Olivier is utterly indifferent to contemporary art, and with very good reason. The question of creation, of Olivier de Coux’s oeuvre, has nothing to do with the fashions and fortunes of the moment but relates instead to the ‘rules of life’, the rules that connect human beings and ask the essential questions. Sculpture will always deal, as it always has, with the question of man’s place on this earth and Olivier, who has a way of always looking at things head on, does of course pay attention to what his contemporaries are creating and keeps an eye on the contemporary art scene, while remaining totally uninterested in the vanity and futility of artistic competition. The greatness of Olivier de Coux’s creation derives from the precise interplay between his day-to-day life and his apprehension of that life, and the malaise which finds its way into his work and speaks to the viewer - malaise because, despite everything, there is never any real gain and each morning life starts afresh in the midst of this ‘despite everything’ and in the midst of the pleasure and pain of existing in the world. Olivier’s œuvre moves constantly back and forth between, on the one hand, the family nucleus, the flowery meadow, the church bell, and on the other those questions thanks to which life simply carries on as it always has. Philippe Hardy April 2012



“Always ready to give up my freedom” - Formatage 341 is dedicated to Gilles Mahé.


In Formatage 341 (2006), a decomposable structure in 341 parts, each of them tied to a formal contract, de Coux gave the spectator the opportunity to own a part or several parts of a unique work of art and accordingly to participate in its creation. In the artist’s own words, “My objective is to get people thinking about the nature and the production of a work of art. This isn’t just about the financial involvement of the purchasers, it goes beyond that. What I want is to include them in a system that is not subject to the usual contractual and artistic constraints.” But this freedom was only possible once a strict protocol had been put in place. Rather than eliminating constraints altogether, therefore, it was more a case of swapping one set of constraints for another. Visually, this is an impressive structure. Composed of narrow rectangles of smooth steel, each of them numbered, it resembles a section of protective carapace on a scaly anteater. There is something comforting about it - curved and close-hugging like a piece of body armour or the inverted hull of a ship or the roof of a Moldavian church. Paul Claudel said that God writes straight using curved lines, but we could say the opposite about Olivier de Coux - that like a man laying slates on a curved roof, he writes curved using straight lines.

F 314, 2002/2004 Steel and tubular scaffolding, 350 x 180 x 150 cm.

Louis Doucet, 2008


It was thinking about the problems inherent in a work of art that led me to embark on Formatage 341. The idea was to create a set of constraints and apply them directly to sculpture. In setting these rules as to how the project should develop (multiple purchasers, use of repetition), I arrived at a working method. The five successive operations, and the relationships with the purchasers, enabled me to construct something that reflected on the production and acquisition of a work of art. The way that F. 341 came together is a fundamental part of the project. My objective was to utilise a principle whereby each person would become central to the reality of the artwork. The character of F. 341 is the result of an organisational approach. It testifies to a particular reality, to the bonds created by commitment. The result is a support that is constructed and subdivided on the basis of information received. As acquisitions were made, so the support developed. When you are constructing an object whose very make-up is constantly under observation by the purchasers and hence constantly called into question, you need to have a system in place that is both fixed and flexible. This means that the operation has to be visible at different stages. From one operation to the next, as his or her name appeared on the artwork, each purchaser became a player in the artistic process.

F. 341 is a piece of artwork and an instrument that can be described as follows: 341 plates/ 341 parts/ 341 owners/ 341 votes. As regards the form itself, my aim was to serve the organisational aspects of the work in the most efficient way possible. The form can be perceived as both decomposable and as a totality. It has aerodynamic qualities and the proportions of bodywork or of a prehistoric

Registre #2. Part nr. 211

The organisational principles of the basic contract were designed to encourage the purchasers to reflect on their participatory role, and to activate a sense of responsibility.


animal. One salient feature is the way it encourages both an external and an internal inspection. By

way of reference, Henri Matisse said about Raymond Duchamp-Villon’s horse - and I quote - “I feel I’m looking at a projectile.” The purchasers followed the suggested protocol. Most of the parts were paid for at exhibitions. I opened an office which enabled me to communicate directly with a future purchaser. He could look at the contract there and view the project plan, and that enabled him to picture his own position within the overall design of F. 341. During our dealings, I would find out more about his motivation and explain the nature of our respective commitments. I should make it clear that during the first two operations, F. 341 being then only at a virtual stage, the subscribers had to imagine what the final sculpture would look like. Some parts were paid for in a restaurant, some through the mail, some by telephone, others were exchanged or presented as gifts; all of them fed the process. With the help of the plan, some people decided to create their own particular configurations: fleeting shapes, people clusters, hidden words… And here I need to specify the methods I used. The first consisted simply of selling parts in a sequence, one after another. The second was proposed very forcefully by the purchasers themselves, keen to choose their own numbers. This wish to appropriate was a natural part of the project. The only restriction was that the parts had to link up with ones that had already been formatted. The point of this was so that I could exhibit F. 341 at the various moments in its evolution. This second method explains the fact that the last part to be acquired was No. 323 and not No. 341 as one might have expected.

This last part was sold at auction and the project was duly complete. The price of the part rose from 20 to 185 euros. In the contract registers there are a handful of exceptions. Part 204 belongs to a cat. Seven parts are company names. Some forty-odd parts belong to children. Parts 138 and 139 have been crossed off the list due to non-payment. Thirteen parts do not correspond to people (a word, drawings). The part that is labelled H.S (‘hors série’ or non-series) I have designated as my own. I should just mention the fact that the purchasers of F. 341 have decided to make a gift of the artwork. We are therefore looking for a prestigious or attractive site where it can be permanently housed. A second unfinished project entitled PART 249 was amalgamated with F. 341. These new parts numbered from 1 to 29a were created in the tubular support structure. The reason the two projects were amalgamated is that while I was in the process of constructing P. 249, I ceased to believe in certain things… And it became impossible to finish the project as a result. While I was making F. 341, I realised just how important the plain segments were. The project logically demanded that some of these should be stacked on top of one another. My observation of these ‘manipulations’ and of their physical qualities led me to incorporate them in the unfinished structure during the final operation. These manipulations are due to influence the future direction of my work. OdCX, Paris, June 2007




REGISTER PURCHASERS FORMATAGE 341 REGISTER NR. 1 • Part N° 001: MICHELE MAHE - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 002: VINCENT VILLARD - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 003: CHARLOTTE FREZARD MOELAN - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 004: JIRI SEL - EPONE - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 005: JIRINA SEL - EPONE - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 006: FREDERIC DUVAL - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 007: ISABELLE DUVAL - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 008: MARTIN DUVAL - PARIS 03/5/2002 • Part N° 009: LOUIS DUVAL - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 010: SYLVIE BARRE - ST MAUR - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 011: SYLVIE BARRE - ST MAUR - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 012: VALERIE JARREAU HENAFF - MEUDON - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 013: CHRISTOPHE JARREAU - MEUDON - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 014: BLAISE JARREAU - MEUDON - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 015: TANIA JARREAU - MEUDON - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 016: JEANNE JARREAU - MEUDON - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 017: VANESSABERTHET - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 018: EMMANUEL GERARD - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 019: DIANE WINCKLER - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 020: CELINE DUTOURNIER - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 021: PHILIPPE KURZWEIL - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 022: PHILIPPE ROLLE - PARIS 03/5/2002 • Part N° 023: SABINE DE COUX - ST BRIAC - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 024: SABINE DE COUX - ST BRIAC - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 025: SABINE DE COUX - ST BRIAC - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 026: BERNARD DE COUX - ST BRIAC - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 027: BERNARD DE COUX - ST BRIAC - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 028: BERNARD DE COUX - ST BRIAC - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 029: JACQUES DOMEAU - RENNES - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 030: ANNE DOMEAU - RENNES - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 031: ISABELLE KURZWEIL - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 032: THOMAS GREZAUD - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 033: THOMAS GREZAUD - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 034: THOMAS GREZAUD - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 035: THOMAS GREZAUD - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 036: JEANNE CHARUET - PARIS 03/5/2002 • Part N° 037: VALENTINE MOURIER - VINCENNES - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 038: ALF - VINCENNES - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 039: CLEO CHARUET - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 040: PHILIPPE DEHAIS - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 041: PIERRE XAVIER GREZAUD - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 042: PIERRE XAVIER GREZAUD - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 043: GREGOIRE DIEHL - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 044: GREGOIRE DIEHL - PARIS 03/5/2002 • Part N° 045: KATHLYN COLLET - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 046: ESTELLE DE COUX - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 047: PADDY - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 048: CELINE CANEPARO - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 049: THOMAS DARTIGE - PARIS 03/5/2002 • Part N° 050: SUARDY BEK - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 051: MARIE DE CRECY - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 052: ETIENNE DE CRECY - PARIS - 03/5/200 • Part N° 053: ERINN GUILLON - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 054: ROMAIN GUILLON - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 055: AURELE GUILLON - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 056: LUDOVIC HOUPLAIN - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 057: ANATOLE HOUPLAIN - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 058: SABINE HOUPLAIN - PARIS - 03/5/2002 • Part N° 059: ISABELLE CALMEJANE - PARIS - 04/5/2002 • Part N° 060: PENELOPE CALMEJANE - PARIS 04/5/2002 • Part N° 061: ELYOUN AUVRAY - RENNES - 04/5/2002 • Part N° 062: CORYAN AUVRAY - RENNES - 04/5/2002 • Part N° 063: MARIE PAULE DE ROSTOLAN - PARIS 15/5/2002 • Part N° 064: HELENA FREZARD - PARIS - 16/5/2002 • Part N° 065: HELENA FREZARD - PARIS - 16/5/2002 • Part N° 066: EUGENIE LEVALLOIS - PARIS - 21/5/2002 • Part N° 067: PIERRE MICHEL LEVALLOIS - PARIS - 21/5/2002 • Part N° 068: MATHIEU MAHE - PARIS - 21/5/2002 • Part N° 069: ISABELLE DE COUX - PARIS - 21/5/2002 • Part N° 070: CHARLOTTE FREZARD - MOELAN - 22/5/2002 • Part N° 071: LITO BENVENUTI - CRETEIL - 25/5/2002 • Part N° 072: J. F CANTREL - RIS-ORANGIS - 27/5/2002 • Part N° 073: JULIETTE COULON - PARIS - 29/5/2002 • Part N° 074: ATHIME DE CRECY - PARIS 31/5/2002 • Part N° 075: ZELIE DE CRECY - PARIS - 31/5/2002 • Part N° 076: PATRICE DE CANDE - VILLENNES SUR SEINE - 6/6/2002 • Part N° 077: PATRICE DE CANDE VILLENNES SUR SEINE - 6/6/2002 • Part N° 078: CLAUDIA GUTIERRIEZ DAVILLA - ST MANDE - 13/6/2002 • Part N° 079: JULIA NAVA GUTIERREZ - ST MANDE - 13/6/2002 • Part N° 080: RAPHAEL ISCAR GUTIERREZ - ST MANDE - 13/6/2002 • Part N° 081: MICHEL BOURGEOIS - PARIS - 13/6/2002 • Part N° 082: SANDRINE COCLET - PARIS 15/7/2002 • Part N° 083: ANNE HENRI PIERRE - PARIS - 2/8/2002 • Part N° 084: MARIN ADELE NOE - PARIS - 2/8/2002 • Part N° 085: HELGA KURZWEIL - VERSAILLES 4/9/2002 • Part N° 086: HELGA KURZWEIL - VERSAILLES - 4/9/2002 • Part N° 087: ALPHONSE BARDOU JACQUET - PARIS - 5/11/2002 • Part N° 088: LOU BARDOU JACQUET - PARIS - 5/11/2002 • Part N° 089: AURELIE BARDOU JACQUET - PARIS 5/11/2002 • Part N° 090: ANTOINE BARDOU JACQUET - PARIS - 5/11/2002 • Part N° 091:


OLIVIER GRALL - RENNES - 8/11/2002 • Part N° 092: BRUNO REBILLARD - BONNEMAIN - 8/11/2002 • Part N° 093: EMMANUELLE CHESNAIS - RENNES - 8/11/2002 • Part N° 094: HERVE MERPAUX - RENNES - 8/11/2002 • Part N° 095: BEATRICE BARDOU JACQUET ST BRIAC - 10/11/2002 • Part N° 096: HUGUES BARDOU JACQUET - ST BRIAC 10/11/2002 • Part N° 097: NOELLE VAN DER WIELE - KAPELLE-PAYS BAS - 10/11/2002 • Part N° 098: JEAN PIERRE PETIT DIDIER - PARIS - 10/11/2002 • Part N° 099: JACQUELINE PETIT DIDIER - PARIS - 10/11/2002 • Part N° 100: DOURAK - MEUDON 21/12/2002 • Part N° 101: EVA SAUROVA - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 102: ALENA LONDON - VINCENNES - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 103: GERARD LONDON - VINCENNES 21/12/2002 • Part N° 104: MAYA ROZIER - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 105: MELODIE ROZIER - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 106: PHILIPPE COLLET - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 107: PHILIPPE COLLET - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 108: MATHIEU LELIEVRE PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 109: AGNES OUVAROFF - COURBEVOIE - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 110: JACQUES OUVAROFF - COURBEVOIE - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 111: SONIA OUVAROFF - COURBEVOIE - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 112: IGOR OUVAROFF - ST MAUR 21/12/2002 • Part N° 113: VLADIMIR OUVAROFF - ST MAUR - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 114: HANNAH DUTOURNIER - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 115: ABEL DUTOURNIER - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 116: HERVE DUTOURNIER - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 117: LOUIS GAYON - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 118: LOUIS GAYON - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 119: KTIA - ST OUEN - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 120: ALEXIS LATROBE - PARIS 21/12/2002 • Part N° 121: ANNE CLAIRE LATROBE - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 122: SEGOLENE CARAIBE - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 123: 3 INA - MEUDON - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 124: JEAN FRANCOIS JULIAN - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 125: VIRGINIE HENAFF - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 126: JEROME RIVIERE - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 127: CATHERINE CHEVRON - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 128: OLIVIER MICHEL PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 129: EDDY LAURENT - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 130: PLUS UN - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • REGISTER NR. 2 • Part N° 131: MARLON MAZARGUIL - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 132: MARIE DE FOUCHIER - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 133: ADEL HEID LE LIDEC - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 134: ALAIN LE LIDEC - PARIS 21/12/2002 • Part N° 135: NOELLE JOURDAN - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 136: SANDRINE BOUVET - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 137: FREDERIC DESSARTE - PARIS 21/12/2002 • Part N° 138: HATIM EL HIHI - PARIS- 21/12/2002 • Part N° 139: --radiée-- • Part N° 140: SOLENE GEFFRAY - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 141: PHILIPPE COURTIES PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 142: NICOLE BUET - EU - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 143: ELIA LEON - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 144: ANNE LAURE BANACH - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 145: CYRIL HOUPLAIN - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 146: CELINE DUFOUR PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 147: FLORE MOREUX - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 148: CLEMENT MICHEL - PARIS - 21/12/2002 • Part N° 149: ZIGGY - PARIS - 21/2/2003 • Part N° 150: RICE COOKER - PARIS - 21/2/2003 • Part N° 151: RAPHAEL AUVRAY - RENNES - 22/2/2003 • Part N° 152: MAELLE DE COUX - RENNES - 22/2/2003 • Part N° 153: MARYVONNE DE COUX - ST BRIAC - 20/5/2003 • Part N° 154: EDWIN HERKENS - PARIS - 26/2/2003 • Part N° 155: EDWIN HERKENS - PARIS - 26/2/2003 • Part N° 156: BB ZORRO - PARIS - 27/2/2003 • Part N° 157: MIREILLE GUEYE - PARIS - 1/3/2003 • Part N° 158: NICOLAS.CECYLIE - PARIS - 16/4/2003 • Part N° 159: VINCENT CLEMENT - PARIS 13/5/2003 • Part N° 160: FLORA CLEMENT - PARIS - 13/5/2003 • Part N° 161: CLARA NEUBURGER - LEVALLOIS - 15/5/2003 • Part N° 162: JULIE FERNANDEZ - PARIS 17/5/2003 • Part N° 163: THOMAS SAINT-GUILLAIN - PARIS - 17/5/2003 • Part N° 164: PRISCA CHAPUIS - GENEVE SUISSE - 17/5/2003 • Part N° 165: CAROLINE BINACHON - PARIS - 18/5/2003 • Part N° 166: CYRIL DESROCHE - PARIS - 18/5/2003 • Part N° 167: G.- 19/5/2003 • Part N° 168: CHE - PARIS - 19/5/2003 • Part N° 169: MARYVONNE DE COUX - ST BRIAC - 24/5/2003 • Part N° 170: VANESSA BERTHET - PARIS - 13/5/2003 • Part N° 171: MARYVONNE DE COUX - ST BRIAC - 24/5/2003 • Part N° 172: MARYVONNE DE COUX - ST BRIAC - 24/5/2003 • Part N° 173: MARYVONNE DE COUX - ST BRIAC 24/5/2003 • Part N° 174: THOMAS NEURAZ - BOIS COLOMBES - 31/5/2003 • Part N° 175: EMMENUEL NEURAZ - BOIS COLOMBES - 31/5/2003 • Part N° 176: ANTOINE NEURAZ - BOIS COLOMBES - 31/5/2003 • Part N° 177: DIDIER NEURAZ - BOIS COLOMBES 31/5/2003 • Part N° 178: M.- 19/5/2003 • Part N° 179: ESTA - PARIS - 19/5/2003 • Part N° 180: JOY E SANJEK - NEW YORK - 28/5/2003 • Part N° 181: VANESSA BERTHET - PARIS 13/5/2003 • Part N° 182: PIERRE PICOT - LOS ANGELES - 30/5/2003 • Part N° 183: ANNICK NEURAZ - BOIS COLOMBES - 31/5/2003 • Part N° 184: HELENE DELTHEIL BORDEAUX - 31/5/2003 • Part N° 185: SEBASTIEN DELTHEIL - BORDEAUX - 31/5/2003 • Part N° 186: SERJ DESPAS - LYON - 9/6/2003 • Part N° 187: MURIEL ROUYER - PARIS -

9/6/2003 • Part N° 188: SCHNECK - PARIS - 9/6/2003 • Part N° 189: SASKIA & ADRIEN LEVALLOIS - VIROFLAY - 31/5/2003 • Part N° 190: REVOLUTION - PARIS - 19/5/2003 • Part N° 191: MICHAEL ANGEL - NEW YORK USA - 28/5/2003 • Part N° 192: KAREL KURZWEIL - ST NOM LA BRETECHE - 9/6/2003 • Part N° 193: ELISKA KURZWEIL - ST NOM LA BRETECHE - 9/6/2003 • Part N° 194: VICTOR CORMIER - FEUCHEROLLES 9/6/2003 • Part N° 195: ELSA CORMIER - FEUCHEROLLES - 9/6/2003 • Part N° 196: LARA DESPAS - LYON - 9/6/2003 • Part N° 197: CLAUDINE DELAUNAY - PARIS -9/6/2003 • Part N° 198: JEAN FRANCOIS GOYAT - PARIS - 9/6/2003 • Part N° 199: CATHERINE DELAUNAY - PARIS - 9/6/2003 • Part N° 200: CELINE PARRET - PARIS - 9/6/2003 • Part N° 201: ES - PARIS - 19/5/2003 • Part N° 202: FELTON - MONTPELLIER - 28/5/2003 • Part N° 203: JEAN CLAUDE - 10/6/2003 • Part N° 204: FLEECYE. ASTONE - RENNES 10/6/2003 • Part N° 205: IGOR JOLY ERARD - PARIS - 14/6/2003 • Part N° 206: MILA DARTIGE - PARIS - 15/6/2003 • Part N° 207: POLA DARTIGE - PARIS - 15/6/2003 • Part N° 208: ACHILLE HOUPLAIN - PARIS - 25/6/2003 • Part N° 209: • Part N° 210: • Part N° 211: JACQUES VILLEGLE - PARIS - 19/8/2003 • Part N° 212: ETERNA - PARIS - 19/5/2003 • Part N° 213: ARIANNE & LISE COQUEREL - PARIS - 28/5/2003 • Part N° 214: FRANCOIS ALLAUX - PARIS - 25/6/2003 • Part N° 215: CASSANDRE MONTORIOL - PARIS 25/6/2003 • Part N° 216: ANITA - PARIS - 25/6/2003 • Part N° 217: KARIM SYLLA - PARIS - 26/8/2003 • Part N° 218: PHILIPPE CORMIER - FEUCHEROLLES -19/10/2003 • Part N° 219: VERONIKA CORMIER - FEUCHEROLLES -19/10/2003 • Part N° 220: MARION SEMELET - SAUZON - 2/1/2004 • Part N° 221: GURVAN - SAUZON - 2/1/2004 • Part N° 222: MR LEARN - PARIS - 21/1/2004 • Part N° 223: ADRIENNE - PARIS - 16/3/2004 • Part N° 224: ROMAN CHRIS - PARIS - 30/5/2003 • REGISTER NR. 3 • Part N° 225: BRITT MANOLI - LA RICHARDAIS - 06/4/2004 • Part N° 226: ODETTE FOURNIER - LA RICHARDAIS - 03/4/2004 • Part N° 227: ALAIN FOURNIER - LA RICHARDAIS - 03/4/2004 • Part N° 228: SUZANNE GALLIEN - PARIS - 07/4/2004 • Part N° 229: SUZANNE GALLIEN - PARIS - 07/4/2004 • Part N° 230: NOELLE VAN DER WIELE - ST BRIAC 07/4/2004 • Part N° 231: J.C BLEGENT - ST BRIAC - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 232: MARYVONNE AUFFRET - LA RICHARDAIS - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 233: ALAIN CARESMEL MAIRE - LA RICHARDAIS - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 234: FRANCOISE VERNET - LA RICHARDAIS 13/4/2004 • Part N° 235: DOMINIQUE VENIERE - TOURS - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 236: OLIVIER MORILLON - TOULON - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 237: BRUNO MORILLON - VIEL BAUGE - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 238: VERONIQUE DE JOUVENCEL - RAMBOUILLET 13/4/2004 • Part N° 239: BRIAC MARCHANDISE - PARIS -13/4/2004 • Part N° 240: DOMINIQUE MAHE - PARIS - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 241: NATHALIE BRET - PARIS 13/4/2004 • Part N° 242: LEON FAURE - RENNES - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 243: LEONARD FAURE - PARIS - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 244: CHRISTINE SOUILLER - PARIS - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 245: DANIELE ORHAN-HORLICK - LA VILLE ES NONAIS - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 246: JEAN-YVES MOISON - ST GONLAY - 14/4/2004 • Part N° 247: OLIVIA MARCES PARIS - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 248: AELAIG MOISON - ST GONLAY - 14/4/2004 • Part N° 249: CLAUDINE LE LAY - PARIS - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 250: THOMAS GILODI - PARIS 13/4/2004 • Part N° 251: RAPHAEL GILODI - PARIS - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 252: MIK PRIMA - RENNES - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 253: ARMELLE PRIMA-DUGAST - RENNES -13/4/2004 • Part N° 254: MALO PRIMA - RENNES - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 255: FAUSTINE PRIMA RENNES - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 256: JACQUES DELTEIL - ST BRIAC - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 257: ANNIE DELTEIL - ST BRIAC - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 258: ARTHUR MAINGUENE RENNES - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 259: MICHEL GUIDONI - VAL D’IJE - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 260: MICHELE GUIDONI - VAL D’IJE - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 261: EVELYNE KERMORGANT - ST BRIAC - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 262: ANDRE KERMORGANT - ST BRIAC - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 263: ANNE CLAUDE - SENE - 15/4/2004 • Part N° 264: CAMILLE J - TOURCOING - 21/4/2004 • Part N° 265: JACQUELINE BARBIER - ST BRIAC - 22/4/2004 • Part N° 266: FRED VILLE - PARIS - 16/5/2004 • Part N° 267: IGOR JOLY-ERARD - PARIS - 20/4/2004 • Part N° 268: FRANCIS VOISIN - RENNES - 14/4/2004 • Part N° 269: AMPARO - RENNES 13/4/2004 • Part N° 270: THIERRY - CHATEAUGIRON - 14/4/2004 • Part N° 271: IGOR JOLY-ERARD - PARIS - 20/4/2004 • Part N° 272: ELLINOR GALICHON - STE ADRESSE 24/4/2004 • Part N° 273: ERWAN MARCHANDISE - PARIS - 05/8/2004 • Part N° 274: ISACC DE CRECY - PARIS - 14/10/2004 • Part N° 275: GAELLE REGEARD - RENNES 05/11/2004 • Part N° 276: Melle DUGUE - HEDE - 08/11/2004 • Part N° 277: KIM TAN 04/11/2004 • Part N° 278: IGOR JOLY-ERARD - PARIS - 20/4/2004 • Part N° 279: FRANCK - NOUVOITOU - 14/4/2004 • Part N° 280: ANNA MARIA MAINGUENE - RENNES 13/4/2004 • Part N° 281: PIERRICK - RENNES - 14/4/2004 • Part N° 282: IGOR JOLYERARD - PARIS - 20/4/2004 • Part N° 283: ANNIE DANIEL - PARIS - 27/10/2004 • Part N°

284: GUILLAUME FOUCAULT - RENNES - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 285: EDOUARD MARTINET - RENNES - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 286: GABRIEL MERPAUX - RENNES 05/11/2004 • Part N° 287: VINCENT MERPAUX - RENNES - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 288: LA MACHINE - 04/11/2004 • Part N° 289: ALAIN NOBLET - MONT JOIE - 14/4/2004 • Part N° 290: ELISE LE COUSTUMER - RENNES - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 291: THIERRY LORIOL RENNES - 14/4/2004 • Part N° 292: RICHARD BONJOUR - 04/11/2004 • Part N° 293: MICHELE BARANGE - RENNES - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 294: JEAN SORIN / RENNES 05/11/2004 • Part N° 295: PIERRE YVES LOISEL - ST MALO - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 296: SEVERINE LOISEL - ST MALO - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 297: OLIVIER BORNE - 04/11/2004 • Part N° 298: CLAUDE BECAM - RELECQ KERHUON - 14/4/2004 • Part N° 299: RUDYARD LE COUSTUMER - RENNES - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 300: JOSEPH ROZE - BETTON - 14/4/2004 • Part N° 301: FRANCO CALAFURI - 04/11/2004 • Part N° 302: FRANCOISE BAILLY - RENNES - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 303: SOFIE LEGENDRE - RENNES - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 304: EVEN TROMEUR - RENNES - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 305: DOMINIQUE REUCHERON - VITRE - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 306: SAS COMPAGNIE DU SAGITTAIRE 04/11/2004 • Part N° 307: TILCIA DURAN GARCIA - WESTON USA - 14/4/2004 • Part N° 308: CHARLOTTE MAINGUENE HARDY - DOL DE BRETAGNE -13/4/2004 • Part N° 309: HUGO DOLCEY L’HOESTE ESCALLON POUR BO PAPA -14/4/2004 • Part N° 310: CHARLES ANTOINE LINARES - 04/11/2004 • Part N° 311: BRIGITTE ROLLANDBOURGES - RENNES - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 312: STEPHANE CEILLIER - RENNES 05/11/2004 • Part N° 313: SOPHIE CEILLIER - RENNES - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 314: CLOUDY NIGHT - DINARD - 04/11/2004 • Part N° 315: PIERRE DEVRED - LA MONTAGNE - 05/4/2004 • Part N° 316: EUGENE COLLET - PARIS - 14/10/2004 • Part N° 317: DANIELS SASHA - WESTON USA - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 318: ROBIN / BRUYERES LE CHATEL - 19/10/2004 • Part N° 319: CLAIRE MATTHEY DE L’ETANG - ERDEVEN 05/11/2004 • Part N° 320: LOUISE MATTHEY DE L’ETANG - PARIS - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 321: SEVERINE.H - PARIS - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 322: FABIENNE LE CHANU JUEL QUINTIN - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 323: PIERRE COLLET - PARIS - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 324: GERALD CAILLAT - PARIS - 24/10 2004 • Part N° 325: - PARIS - 14/10/2004 • Part N° 326: EDITION DU CARABE - RENNES - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 327: LOLA - BRUYERES LE CHATEL - 19/10/2004 • Part N° 328: NOA NATION - PARIS - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 329: NOA OF - PARIS - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 330: NOA ANGELA - PARIS - 05/11/2004 • Part N° 331: BENEDICTE DUVAL - CAEN - 25/4/2004 • Part N° 332: DOMINIQUE DUVAL - CAEN - 25/4/2004 • Part N° 333: PIERRE GALICHON - STE ADRESSE - 24/4/2004 • Part N° 334: IMPRESSIONS DU SAGITTAIRE - CESSON - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 335: FREDERIC BORIN LANCIEUX - 21/4/2004 • Part N° 336: NADINE BORIN - LANCIEUX - 21/4/2004 • Part N° 337: CAROLA HARRINGTON - ST MALO - 21/4/2004 • Part N° 338: HELOISE - PARIS - 19/4/2004 • Part N° 339: SAS DU PETIT DEMON - RENNES - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 340: SA IKKON - RENNES - 13/4/2004 • Part N° 341: DOMINIQUE MAINGUENE - RENNES 13/4/2004 • Part N° H.S: OLIVIER DE COUX - PARIS - 5/11/2004 • FUSION « PART 249 / FORMATAGE 341 » • Part N° 001bis: FRANCOISE MONIN - PARIS - 22/11/06 • Part N° 002bis:DANIELLE FREYSS - PARIS - 22/11/06 • Part N° 003bis: FRANCOISE & JEAN MARC MINOTTE - BRUNOY - 22/11/06 • Part N° 004bis: ALAIN LE LIDEC - PARIS - 22/11/06 • Part N° 005bis: NOELLE JOURDAN - PARIS - 22/11/06 • Part N° 006bis: VICTOR FAGGIANELLI - COURBEVOIE - 22/11/06 • Part N° 007bis: ADRIEN SEL - COUBEVOIE 22/11/06 • Part N° 008bis: JULIEN SEL - COURBEVOIE - 22/11/06 • Part N° 009bis: XAVIER SEL - COUBEVOIE - 22/11/06 • Part N° 010bis: SUPERNATURE - PARIS - 22/11/06 • Part N° 011bis: KATRIN FRIDRICKS - CLICHY - 22/11/06 • Part N° 012bis: SABINE DE COUX SAINT BRIAC - 23/11.06 • Part N° 013bis: ALAIN GUEZENNEC - LA BAULE - 23/11/06 • Part N° 014bis: BDC - SAINT BRIAC - 23/11/06 • Part N° 015 & 016bis: HELENA KURZWEILOVA - PARIS - 25/11/06 • Part N° 017bis: ESTELLE DE COUX - PARIS - 25/11/06 • Part N° 018bis: PADDY LE LIDEC - PARIS - 25/11/06 • Part N° 019bis: CAROLINE HAACK - PARIS - 25/11/06 • Part N° 020bis: NOE NOVIANT - PARIS - 25/11/06 • Part N° 021bis: FEODOR CARDENAS CASTRO - ISSY LES MOULINEAUX - 26/11/06 • Part N° 022bis: GEORGES KRATZENBERG - LUXEMBOURG - 4/12/06 • Part N° 023bis: ---radié--- • Part N° 024bis: NICOLE- CHARLOTTE FICHET - PARIS - 26/11/06 • Part N° 025bis: COLETTE MASOUR - FONTAINBLEAU - 26/11/06 • Part N° 026bis: NICOLE GAULIER - PARIS 26/11/06 • Part N° 027bis: ROY SFEIR - PARIS - 26/11/06 • Part N° 028bis: JOHN K MELVIN - SEATTLE - 26/11/06 • Part N° 029bis: JACQUELINE LUTIER - PARIS - 04/12/06






“A quadrilateral simply has to have three right angles to be a rectangle.� Constraints: 11 identical triangles/rectangles. Edge-to-edge assembly composing a rectangle.

3 AD/11 TRIANGLES (18 results), 2010 Zinc, 90 x 90 cm





ANTI-RÉSULTAT, 2009/2011 Constraints: Vertical lines, A4 format. Horizontal presentation. Unlimited results. Steel, 21 x 29 cm


3 AD for 11 triangles, 2011 Steel, 300 x 190 cm

RESULTAT 19 31, 2011 Steel, 290 x 190 x 150 cm


A is to B what C is to D Analogies / Analogical sculptures

There is an architectural quality to Olivier de Coux’s sculptures - even his small-scale works - that evokes not so much the steel structures of postmodernism as the grand edifices of the Middle Ages. Yet all those right angles and squares and scrupulously straight lines have, at first sight, seemingly very little in common with Romanesque and Gothic arches. The attentive viewer, however, who takes the time to observe and reflect will recognise a three-fold alliance between the two - based on the notions of constraints, of saturation and of dissolution. Constraints Olivier de Coux himself speaks of “exploiting the multiple possibilities presented by a line travelling within the constraints of a fixed space”. Is it not in fact the primary task of the architect to construct a space, to develop and structure it while simultaneously creating the illusion of having effortlessly transcended the laws of physics? There is a parallel to be found here in the literary works of


Georges Perec and the Oulipians, who strove for apparently limitless creative freedom by deliberately submitting to a set of extreme constraints. And do we not also catch a distant echo of Augustinianism, in which liberty is viewed as inevitably contingent upon constraint? The laws of gravity are unforgiving. The builder of cathedrals, just like the builder of the most modest Romanesque church, is bound by them but also succeeds in transcending them, utilising them in such a way as to highlight the soaring grace of his creation, emptiness, the void… and in the process all sense of constraint is forgotten. He does not dictate the nature of these constraints which are imposed upon him by physics - but he defies them, obscures them, befriends them - to the point of performing apparent miracles. Picture, for example, the incredulity of those 15th-century Florentines witnessing Brunelleschi’s progress as he oversaw the construction of the dome for their Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo).

RÉSULTATS 11 19 (9 results), 2008 Black-oxidised steel, 30 x 30 x 30 cm

RÉSULTATS 11 19 (7 results), 2007 Steel, 19 x 30 x 30 cm, F.N.A.C. Collection.


Olivier de Coux is no less bound by the laws of gravity, but they are not enough to inspire him. In order to stimulate and feed his creative imagination, he looks to other constraints instead: single squares, right angles, fixed ratios determining the lengths of segments, inscription within a predefined virtual space, gyration‌ What is so astonishing is that these constraints are not immediately obvious when we look at the finished object - any more than a worshipper kneeling to pray in the nave of a cathedral thinks of Newton.

Models in wood


We follow the lines of sight and imagine them continuing beyond the limits of our vision. They invite the spectator to move beyond their concrete reality, their immediate presence, and to continue calculating their value ad infinitum. With de Coux, then, we come fairly close to genetic models such as fractals, where certain fixed rules determine the development of a cell - a development only limited by the constraints of an external envelope. We can say with confidence, therefore, that each of Olivier de Coux’s sculptures is self-similar.

AD 13, 2011 Corten steel, 42 x 42 x 32 cm



Saturation “As it develops, the line encounters opposition from a set of imaginary planes and follows the only logical trajectory it can so as to occupy the available space.” This is how Olivier de Coux describes the way he works. His practice is to focus on a fixed space and saturate it to the point where nothing more is possible without violating his own predefined rules or overstepping the spatial limits created by the virtual planes. What we have here is something similar - in terms of three-dimensional space - to the technique of the all-over, whose practitioners ignore the question of the limits of the visual field - as here of space - by filling the totality of the pictorial field and extending it beyond its borders. Saturation does not exclude the possibility of (substantial) empty space. It allows the spectator to dwell on the intervening spaces, the interstices, to become imbued with them and to take possession of them mentally. As the writer Jean Paulhan said: “Such is the human spirit, even when roaming abroad: at every moment it occupies all the space available to it.”


The image of roaming is a pertinent one. The eye naturally follows the lines, discovering their multiple paradoxes, as when for example, like a MĂśbius strip, they return to their starting point without having exhausted every possibility open to them. We the spectator follow the same trajectory with a certain delight, discovering new points of view, unsuspected perspectives, and feel an irresistible urge to reach out and touch what we see. The act of repeated looking or touching can have an obsessional quality, an element of possessive longing, not dissimilar to the obsessionality we associate with romantic love. As Marcel Proust so tellingly puts it: “Certainly, to possess something one must have desired it. We can possess a line, a surface, a volume only if our love occupies itâ€? (Proust, The Prisoner, translated by Carol Clark, p. 158). For the builders of cathedrals or more modest sanctuaries, the saturation of space left no room for anything other than the presence of God, encouraging the spirit to pass beyond the physical limits of the nave, the transept and the choir and to be lifted heavenwards. This then was another form of love, another form of sensuality, in the etymological meaning of the word - the entirety of our senses and their activity - such as Saint Bernard understood it in his Sermons.


AD 14, 2009 Stainless steel, 120 x 63 x 68 cm Villa Datris Collection



The saturation we are dealing with here is primarily to be understood in terms of mathematical logic - in terms of an axiomatic system to which a new independent axiom cannot be added without producing a contradiction of the theory. If we substitute the word constraint or rule for the word axiom, we have a fairly precise definition of Olivier de Coux’s working method. Each of his artworks pushes his self-imposed constraints to the absolute limits, to the point at which the composition can be said to be complete. We can also understand the term ‘saturation’, however, in its linguistic sense, as when we speak of the saturation of a corpus meaning the point at which it cannot be unpicked further to provide any new information. Olivier de Coux’s sculptures are ‘saturated’ in the linguistic sense in so far as the viewer, having once become fully cognisant of a piece, feels the need to move on to the next… even if, like the obsessive lover, he or she returns to the first after exhausting the series.

RÉSULTATS 19 31, 2011 Stainless steel, 290 x 190 x 150 cm


Like the inconstant lover who moves from one woman to the next in search of the unattainable ideal, the essence of womanhood, the viewer moves from one sculpture to the next, delighting in their differences but becoming progressively immersed in their commonality, ultimately reaching that level of saturation where each of the works stands for the whole series, like a prototype containing in embryonic form the potentialities of all the rest. Dissolution “There is no man-made thing that does not contain within it the seeds of its own dissolution,” remarked Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, a French architect famed as a promoter and restorer of Gothic and Romanesque arches. This dissolution involves a kind of asceticism, much as François Mauriac describes it in relation to great men: “No doubt, the dissolution of a living being in nature requires a more difficult process of asceticism than the process that occurs in the botanical world.” If Gothic columns and arcatures can merge with the image of the ‘primitive grove’, Olivier de Coux’s sculptures too have the capacity to merge with something greater, more universal, than themselves. What we have here, paradoxically, is a highly romantic vision of the work of art. Witness, for example, a photomontage in which de Coux


positions five of his structures, painted red, in front of a line of trees growing alongside a road, with the clear intention of blending the sculpture with its environment. Whether or not we wish to hear it, there is an echo here of Goethe’s Faust where the protagonist’s hopeless longing expressed with such great intensity taps into a dream as old as the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea: “Could I not, by the strength of my desire, Bring that unique form back to life?” Without going to the extremes of a Walter Benjamin - for whom aesthetic criticism ultimately entailed the dissolution of the work of art itself - Olivier de Coux has made it a central part of his practice to fuse his artwork with the environment. We should not assume that his sculpture is intended to be utilitarian or decorative or functional. Indeed, it satisfies none of these criteria. The drive towards dissolution of the sculptural form does not flow from any contingent need. It is gratuitous but indispensable, inscribing the artistic creation within a being which rejects the existing, and contradicting it as part of an ontological approach that would have been familiar to both Husserl and Heidegger. But that is another story…

Louis Doucet, February 2008



RESULTAT 28 48, 2008 Corten steel, 100 x 100 x 100 cm


“Certainly, to possess something, one must have desired it. We can possess a line, a surface, a volume only if our love occupies it� Proust, The Prisoner


AD 10, 2011 Corten steel, 50 x 40 x 40 cm



RESULTAT 19 31, 2013 Stainless steel


A.D As a way of solving certain complex differential equations, the mathematician and physician Pierre-Simon Laplace invented a method known as the variation of parameters or variation of constants. In his most recent works, entitled A.D (for “Angles Droits”, or Right Angles), Olivier de Coux transposes the Laplace method to the threedimensional world of sculpture. One of the essential axioms - a constant - of de Coux’s work over the last decade, namely the development in space of a square-section metal line, has been modified in these recent works. Through a process of deformation1, or elongation, the basic component of his new sculptures has changed from a square to a rectangle, interfering somewhat with the logic governing the majority of his earlier works. The artist has thus allowed himself the luxury of an additional freedom or, put another way, one fewer constraint - an initiative which has opened up an infinite number of new possibilities. Indeed, whereas in a square the ratio of two adjacent sides is always equal to 1, in a rectangle the number of possible values is infinite.


Pierre Dac: “The square is a triangle that has succeeded, or a circumference that went wrong. It is also an egalitarian rectangle.”


We should not be deceived, however. This new apparent freedom has its own attendant difficulties, knowingly and willingly embraced by the artist, to quote whom: “Changing one of the elements of my reasoning leads to a whole new set of results. My sculptures are the consequence of conditional propositions. In other words, they are linked to the rest by implication. If I posit the existence of a new condition, I am obliged to create a whole new totality.” Obligation as consequence of a degree of supplementary freedom... Political food for thought in our Western democracies where, for many, freedom confers rights but precious few obligations or responsibilities… But that is a different debate entirely. Others may see in it, as I have done, a development of Augustinian2 thinking, according to which freedom is the freedom to pursue one’s chosen path. Olivier de Coux prefers to align himself with Foucault, who states: “There are moments in life where the question of knowing if one can think otherwise than one thinks and see otherwise than

2 But also the thinking of Descartes (“The freedom of our will needs no proof: we know it simply because we experience it”), in Principia, I, 39.

one sees is indispensable for continuing to look and to reflect.”3 So, it seems that this evolution became a necessity4, perhaps a way of exorcising the artist’s fear that he might exhaust his present system or of fending off any accusations of selfplagiarism, that form of premature fossilisation which certain artists, and not the least among them, too readily invite. But since freedom only becomes meaningful once limits5 have been put in place, Olivier de Coux immediately created a new set of constraints for himself. The sections were from now on to be rectangular but identical within the same piece. Moreover, in a given series, the ratio between the dimensions of two adjacent sides of the section would also remain constant. The sculptor consequently developed a number of what we might call meta-series composed of series all of whose constituent parts shared this common parameter. Another constraint, the number of articulations or dislocations, we might say - all of them involving a right angle, was also to remain constant for all the pieces in a series. One might


imagine that rules as strict as these must invariably produce banal results. Not so… As André Gide6 tells us: “constraint” is indispensable to the creative process. And, if we are to believe Ambrose Bierce7, it can even be said to be one of the foundation stones of pleasure. Olivier de Coux clearly takes pleasure in developing his rectangular-section line, to the point of saturating the available space and exhausting the possibilities of articulation. At the same time, he covers his tracks, making the process less easy to decipher than in the squaresection pieces. Prima facie, an essentially linear reading yields here to an appreciation of masses, and an emphasis on and increased readability of the interstices, which have become narrower and more constrained… almost lines. Only when we observe several pieces in the same series simultaneously do we discover - not without some delight - the immense variety of the trajectories of the line... or lines, as we should say: the lines constituting both substance (metal) and empty space (interstices).

In L’Usage des plaisirs.


Spinoza: “For my part, I call free a thing that is and acts through the sole necessity of its nature, and constrained a thing determined by another to exist and to act in a certain fixed fashion”, in Letter LVIII, to George Hermann Schuller.

6 André Gide: “Art is born of constraint, lives by struggle and dies of freedom”, in L’évolution du théâtre, Journal, folio 1. Gide is repeating the comment attributed to Michelangelo: “Art is born of constraint - and dies of freedom.” 7


Jean-Louis Barrault: “Freedom is the right to choose its constraints”.

Ambrose Bierce: “To give pleasure. To put in place the foundations of a structure of constraint”, in The Devil’s Dictionary.



AD 10, 2011 Corten steel, 50 x 40 x 50 cm

At that point, the mass of an apparently saturated space dissolves into lines and voids, emptiness and matter. The triad constraint - saturation - dissolution continues therefore to be one of the absolute constants of Olivier de Coux’s artistic practice. The constraints he imposes on himself are not sterile abstractions. On the contrary, they have a generative function, defining at a conceptual level all the members in the series which they control. Olivier de Coux assumes the role of a sort of demiurge, whose immaterial purpose is sufficient to furnish the space with constructions that possess undeniable materiality8.

Olivier de Coux’s work? In mathematical logic, the saturation of an axiomatic system is reached when it is no longer possible to add a new independent axiom without creating contradictions in terms of the theory. This is precisely the case with de Coux’s self-imposed system of creative constraints, where any new constraint would risk generating impossibilities or producing tautological works lacking any real interest. His works are also saturated in the sense in which the word is used, in hydrogeology, to describe rock where all the fissures are completely filled with water. Obviously, in this case, we are talking of empty space rather than water, but in so far as space equals line any additional intervention would potentially interfere with it. The works are also saturated in the chemical sense of the word, where saturation defines that point at which the two mutually attracting principles in a binary system have united to their maximum capacity. The two ‘principles’ in the works of Olivier de Coux are matter and the void, and it is indisputable that, within the constraints the artist has set himself, metal and interstices interrelate in the only ways that they can.

More prosaically, we might refer to the science of crystallography, noting how a handful of data is sufficient to determine the form of a crystal and the rules of its development, while also accommodating the potential for accidental occurrences. Seen in juxtaposition, de Coux’s sculptures remind us of those twinned crystals, or macles, which the Trésor de la langue française defines as follows: “simultaneous growth of two or more crystals according to fixed relationships between the crystalline structures, with the result that one or more faces of one of the individuals is parallel to non-identical faces of the other”. This is surely the same type of relationship as the one that exists between same-series pieces in

This saturation9 does not generate the ennui or ‘disgust’ feared by Sainte-Beuve. On the contrary, it produces an impression of plenitude



Without wishing to become bogged down in mysticism, I am thinking of that phrase which occurs at the beginning of St John’s Gospel: et Verbum caro factum est (and the Word became flesh).

“There is a moment during this meal we call life when we reach saturation: at that point it only takes a drop and the cup of disgust overflows” (Mes Poisons).


and ultimate stability - not the stability we associate with machines at rest or the opposite of dynamic motion but rather the stability that chemists and physicists are referring to when they talk about intramolecular relationships. This is a good point to mention the thinking of Hermes Trismegistus10, who claimed to be able to explain both the movement and the stability of all things. Since space was saturated, he argued, the human spirit became obsessed with the dissolution of forms - either prompted by the demon of deconstruction or responding to the innate destructiveness that lies at the heart of mankind. Such dissolution could only occur as the interstitial void grew, in a boundless process that pushed the spatial limits of man’s works ever further into infinity. The erotic associations of such a construct are manifest and link moreover with the thinking of George Bataille, who maintained that “What is involved, in eroticism, is always a dissolution of existing forms.”11 The lines of the interstitial void offer up a sense of fragility; they are signs warning of rupture, of erosion slowly occurring, like the menace that hovers over frost-shattered rocks, like the cleavage planes that underlie glacial collapse and tumbling tectonic plates. The apparent paradox is that, with Olivier de Coux, it is not some corrosive agent but empty space which threatens the solidity of the metal structure.

In the photographs he shows of his works, Olivier de Coux particularly favours the three-point, or tripod, position. Aside from its strictly functional role as a somewhat precarious kitchen utensil, the tripod has strong symbolic associations that date back to the oracular practice of the Sibyl and later the Pythia at Delphi. Its image is inseparably linked with that of the serpent13 Python whose tomb was marked by the ‘ὀμφαλός’, the ‘omphalos’ or ‘navel’ of the world, outward sign of the sexual succession of the generations. Thus humanised, the metal that invites touch, like a lover’s skin, is destined to wear away, subsumed in the inevitable nothingness to which all of life too soon returns. In his novel ‘Génitrix’, François



“Despite its perpetual movement, time possesses the strength and the nature of stability thanks to the way that it necessarily turns back upon itself.” (Corpus Hermeticum, Book II). 11


There is real pleasure to be had from handling Olivier de Coux’s sculptures. These are conceived in such a way that they can be positioned on a single face, on two edges or on three points, and will be equally stable in each position. One surface, two lines, three points: here we have the basic physical rules for the stability of a mechanical system, but also a throwback12 to Kandinsky’s Bauhaus lectures. The number of possible positionings for each piece in space remains finite but sufficient for each spectatorcum-manipulator to be able to spend time exploring them, and reinventing them, like so many positions taken from a mechanistic Kama Sutra.

In L’Érotisme.

Kandinsky’s seminal work Punkt und Linie zu Fläche (Point and Line to Plane) was published in 1926.


The serpent also clearly represents female sexual fantasies.

AD 12, 2011 Corten steel, 170 x 110 x 110 cm


Mauriac evokes this fear of failing to experience saturation before death finally claims us: “The annihilation integral to caresses had not prepared him for eternal dissolution. In the end, this flesh had not known its own secret.” And yet this dissolution is as necessary as the succession of the seasons because, without it, the process of saturation would ultimately lead to a state of unicity which was conceptually satisfying but in actual physical terms sterile. For the generative capacity to be maintained, it has to be renewed from generation to generation, the young plants nourished by the soil into which the old plants die back. French poet and critic André Suarès puts it very clearly: “Style is nothing in itself, but form is the incarnation of the true being. Where there is neither form nor order, there is nothing. Death is the dissolution of an order.” Order may be subject to dissolution, but the creator is always present to create new order… From the concept to the object - from the object to plenitude - from plenitude to dissolution - from dissolution to the concept: the circle is closed…

Louis Doucet, December 2011


AD 12.,2011 Corten steel



AD 13, 2011 Corten steel, 55 x 60 x 50 cm

AD 10, 2011 Corten steel, 37 x 37 x 42 cm Drawing / scale map paper mounted on plywood Industrial mixed technique)



“Most fascinating from my point of view are the similarities and differences intrinsic to the sculptures. The sculptures are different and yet they adhere to the same logical schema. The constraints and the results are interdependent and my purpose is to push this relationship to its uttermost limits�. Olivier de Coux



Drawing / scale map paper mounted on plywood Industrial mixed technique 200 x 100 cm (x4)









RÉSULTAT 19 31, 2013 Steel, 270 x 140 x 115 cm



RÉSULTAT 16 28, 2012 Stainless steel, 110 x 140 x 170 cm

AD 17, 2012 Stainless steel, 150 x 115 x 110 cm



AD 12, 2011 Corten steel, 170 x 110 x 110 cm



AD 13, 2011 Corten steel, 42 x 32 x 32 cm Drawing / scale map paper mounted on plywood Industrial mixed technique


“Nothing repeated is ever precisely the same.� Gilles Deleuze


RESULTAT 16 82 x 3, 2011-2012 Stainless steel, 70 x 70 x 70 cm






AD 14, 2011 Corten steel, 55 x 80 x 65 cm

AD 12, 2011 Corten steel, 45 x 65 x 40 cm


AD 17, 2014 Stainless steel, 120 x 150 x 110 cm




RESULTAT 16 28, 2012 Stainless steel, 110 x 140 x 150 cm Drawing / scale map paper mounted on plywood Industrial mixed technique 200 x 100 cm (x3)




RESULTAT 16 28, 2012 Stainless steel, 150 x 160 x 110 cm



AD 17, 2014 Stainless steel



AD 21, 2014 Stainless steel 80 x 40 x 45 cm

AD 17, 2014 Stainless steel 120 x 105 x 110 cm



AD 32, 2014 Stainless steel 290 x 170 x 240 cm



AD 28, 2014 Stainless steel, 65 x 85 x 85 cm





AD 32, 2014 Stainless steel, 70 x 110 x 85 cm



AD 4, 2014 Stainless steel, 70 x 80 x 25 cm

MODEL AD 17, 2014 Stainless steel, 25 x 25 x 25 cm



MODEL AD 17, 2014 Stainless steel, 25 x 30 x 30 cm

MODEL AD 17, 2014 Stainless steel, 25 x 25 x 25 cm



MODEL AD 20, 2014 Stainless steel, 35 x 45 x 40 cm



MODEL AD 10, 2011 Steel, 37 x 37 x 42 cm



OLIVIER DE COUX ° 1968 Versailles Olivier de Coux always knew that he was going to be a sculptor and his parents can still remember hearing him working on a piece of wood in his bedroom. When, in 1991, he was turned down by Paris’s École des Beaux Arts, Olivier decided to spend time with working artists instead of embarking on a formal training. He held his first exhibition that same year, at Saint Briac sur Mer (a small seaside resort on the coast of Brittany, where he was brought up). And four years later Olivier de Coux was already being officially recognised as a professional sculptor. His first proper studio - which he occupied from 1993 - was in a former electricity substation in Morlaix. He later moved from there to a garage near the train station. There followed an old forge next to a main road, a city farm, another garage at the end of a no through road, and finally an old mill in the south of the Loire. Olivier worked in Morlaix, Plougoulm and La ville au Monnier. Later, thanks to the good offices of Gilles Mahé (artist 1939-1999), he acquired a studio in Rennes, where he worked from 1995 to 2000. From Rennes he moved to Paris, where he spent ten years (2000 -2010) in the city’s Quartier Stalingrad. Then finally, in 2010, Olivier and his family moved to Legé, prompted by the desire for more space and feeling an urgent need simply to get away from it all. PERSONAL EXHIBITIONS 2014 # MT galerie. Abbaye de Coat Maloen. Kerpert. 2011 # Galerie Dartois. Bordeaux. 2008 # Galerie du Haut-Pavé. Paris. 2002 # Galerie de l’atelier de sèvres. Paris. RESIDENCE 1995/2000 # Atelier de la ville de Rennes. EXHIBITIONS

# Collection Villa Datris. Paris. # « Regard sur la jeune abstraction » Collection Doucet. Trappes. 2013 # Galerie Quai Est. Ivry. 2012/2013/2014 # « OutDoor ». Salle des ventes de Rennes. 2011 # « Sculpture Plurielles ». Villa Datris. Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue. # « Sculp’ en Sologne ». 2eme biennale de sculpture contemporaine. # Galerie Réjane Louin. Locquirec. 2010 # « L’art chemin faisant ». Pont-Scorff. 2009 # Cité des géométrie. Maubeuge. 2008/2009/2011/2013 # Galerie Michèle Guérin. Limetz-Villez. 2007 # « Jardin des arts ». Les Entrepreneurs Mécènes. Chateaubourg. 2006 # Centre international d’art Contemporain. Pont-Aven. 2005 # « 4 Printemps de la Sculptures ». Chantilly. 2004 # Musée Manoli. La Richardais. 1999 # Galerie des Urbanistes. Fougères. 1996 # Galerie du Placard. (Projet Gilles Mahé). Saint-Briac. SALONS 2014 # Pan Amsterdam. The Netherlands 2012 # St’art. Galerie Réjane Louin. Strasbourg. # Simesitem. Carrousel du Louvre. Paris. 2010 # Cutlog. Galerie Xavier Nicolas. Paris. 2007/2008/2009/2011 # MAC 2000. Paris. ACQUISITIONS 2008 # Fond National d’Art Contemporain. La Défense. 2011 # Villa Datris. Fond pour la sculpture contemporaine. Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue. Paris.

2014 # Galerie Réjane Louin. Une partie de campagne. Saint-Briac.


Photos: RAPHAEL AUVRAY SARAH BARTHEAU OLIVIER DE COUX MICHEL THAMIN FRANK CROES Lay-out: C.M. PRODUKTIE Contact: ART@LIFE Grote Plaats 31 2323 Hoogstraten Belgium Publisher: BVBA Art@Life




A is to B what C is to D

Olivier de Coux  

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