Artist Jean-Michel Bihorel’s digital sculptures, give new meaning to the phrase ‘Body Language’, pulling viewers in with work that is all of aesthetically fascinating, cerebral and expressive.
French 3D artist, Jean-Michel Bihorel, has been working in the computer graphics industry since the last eight years. After his brief stance at a 3D animation school, he began working for films and commercials.
Despite his demanding commitments he still kept his interest in his personal creations flowing in his free time. Months of indulging in awaiting ideas gave shape to his first series of work called the ‘Flower Figures’. Bihorel shares, “It’s still an ongoing process of creation and I believe it is the first of many series of mixing and exploring different techniques.”
The French artist has a knack for creating haunting, incredibly life-like structures embedded with flowers. His figures impress with the naturalness of their features and beauty of volume. The ideation behind this splendid series started when Bihorel found a dried hydrangea on the street. He says, “The structure was so fascinating to me that I decided to do something with it. It almost came as evidence that I should mix the subtle delicateness of the dried flowers with a woman’s body.”
His sculptures may even disturb the onlooker a bit, as the intensity of their creation wrought from a confluence of digital art and life is revealed. It takes a great deal of expertise to transform mere fantasies into digital art. Bihorel tells us how he chose 3D as a tool to realise his visions. He says, “After I got the first idea, I started the process of modeling the main structure with roots and branches, then scattered flowers on it and subsequently started playing with light and materials.”
The process being time consuming his ideas kept evolving as new ones blossomed along the way. His creative and innate mastery over digital art brings a different life and spontaneity to a more precise anatomically based methodology.
The deliberate use of sweeping meshes of flowers, which may look randomly placed are actually only in favour of the final drama. This is not due to a tendency to impress but is dictated by the authenticity of his art, where the inside is part of the outside. He shares, “Talking about it with my wife, we realised that the expressions of well-being depicted as a skin made of flowers made a lot of sense as a metaphor because skin is actually an interface between someone’s inner world and the outside.”
The skin of the figures is obtained from the accumulation of a guided stratification. This stratigraphy is evident through the fragile delicateness of the key component that builds these figures and contributes to the truthfulness of the forms, revealing an intense fiction of the mind that comes alive through art.
Bihorel tells us, “Flower Figures is all about delicateness and subtlety. It depicts a woman’s beauty and softness. My goal with this series is to create calm and delicate images, ones that appease the viewer. I have no messages to send or claims to make with my images. I only pursue an aesthetic purpose and want to make it accessible to everyone.”
His figures co-exist in space, with similarities and shared features which characterise them with respect to technical, aesthetic and conceptual development. Solitary creatures with an inclination, they stand detached yet mesmerise with their prevailing introversion.
Bihorel relies on the simplicity of the materials to speak their own language. Vulnerability coincides with the robust, authenticity with the improbable, realism with flights of fantasy, hinting towards the offbeat, they open up a new enquiry. Taking us behind the scenes literally, he shares, “After using 3D for many years, it allows me the power to create without any boundary,” something that is so beautifully captured in the execution of his vision through both medium and technique.
The sculptures are metaphors for not only the vulnerability of one’s physical body but also one’s emotional and mental state. 3D art has been most adeptly used to create a subtle balance between the subjective and the objective. Bihorel signs off saying, “It is very important for me to divert attention to 3D media and give this tool back the status that it should rightfully have.”
“Making a picture using 3D art shouldn’t have a negative or positive impact on the perception of the picture. Digital art still has to gain recognition in the art community. Even if everything happens in a virtual context, the expertise required to output an image is no less important than that of a painter or a sculptor. I’m not sure people realise that just yet.”
Text By Kanupriya Pachisia
Photographs Courtesy Jean-Michel Bihorel