Maurice Frydman

b. 1928, France

Born to a family of Polish immigrants in Paris, Maurice Frydman creates his work in a field that he scours tenaciously: the skin. The skin – the first and last bastion of our being – is a reflection of intimacy and experience and connects us to the outside world via touch. Skin is a living testament, down to the smallest wrinkles, creases and folds. The artist has made this the subject of his work, in order to tell us about the individual, love and hate and sensuality, but also fractures, stigmata and scars. He strives to evoke the skin in different forms and through different techniques: sometimes personal memories, sometimes recollections of the dark spirals of the past.

Maurice Frydman's roots were initially figurative. He depicted maternity and paternity, but also the opposite of this humanity through drawings and washes of intense emotion, illustrating the horrors of the Holocaust. In these, we imagine the human form rather than recognising it in the attitudes of these naked, slaughtered bodies.

A few years later, the discovery of transparent plastic film marked a turning point in Maurice Frydman’s style. While he is inspired by this unconventional, supple, elastic and seemingly banal material, it is because it is malleable, mobile and alive, closely mirroring the plasticity of the skin. In the hands of the artist, when associated with painting, it quickly takes on a meaning and allows for a range of hybrid works that play with texture, with a language that is common to both sculpture and painting. Abstraction and 3D then take centre stage. The relationship with the material is decisive and essential and both visual and tactile; it is almost carnal because Maurice Frydman shapes it with his own hands by stretching and twisting it. He brings the plastic to the point of breaking, with the material in a permanent state of action/reaction, leading to an explosion of folds and tears. Gesture and thought go hand in hand. This is because, behind the handiwork, behind the texture, which graduates the effects of chance and light, beyond the successive layers of paint that coil and create a sense of relief in this material, there is a mirrored surface that is full of meaning. Certain three-dimensional works, which are formed from luminous matrices that are folded and creased, depict imaginary landscapes in bas-relief, shifting between abstraction and figurative work.

The ebb and flow of the docile plastic calls to mind the skin (be it pleasure or pain), onto which vital energy and concealed emotions are grafted. This skin retains the remnants and marks of our experiences and reveals both the dark and light side of our existence. While Maurice Frydman follows in the footsteps of Michelangelo, he suggests exceptional variations on David’s torso. This part of the human anatomy is the most complex and varied when it comes to its movements. In addition to its formal beauty and the research that continues ad infinitum, this work serves as a cry from the abysses of history. Tragedy is present and muffled in the large formats or the huge sheets, which are produced with masterly dimensions.

Born to a family of Polish immigrants in Paris, Maurice Frydman creates his work in a field that he scours tenaciously: the skin. The skin – the first and last bastion of our being – is a reflection of intimacy and experience and connects us to the outside world via touch. Skin is a living testament, down to the smallest wrinkles, creases and folds. The artist has made this the subject of his work, in order to tell us about the individual, love and hate and sensuality, but also fractures, stigmata and scars. He strives to evoke the skin in different forms and through different techniques: sometimes personal memories, sometimes recollections of the dark spirals of the past.

Maurice Frydman's roots were initially figurative. He depicted maternity and paternity, but also the opposite of this humanity through drawings and washes of intense emotion, illustrating the horrors of the Holocaust. In these, we imagine the human form rather than recognising it in the attitudes of these naked, slaughtered bodies.

A few years later, the discovery of transparent plastic film marked a turning point in Maurice Frydman’s style. While he is inspired by this unconventional, supple, elastic and seemingly banal material, it is because it is malleable, mobile and alive, closely mirroring the plasticity of the skin. In the hands of the artist, when associated with painting, it quickly takes on a meaning and allows for a range of hybrid works that play with texture, with a language that is common to both sculpture and painting. Abstraction and 3D then take centre stage. The relationship with the material is decisive and essential and both visual and tactile; it is almost carnal because Maurice Frydman shapes it with his own hands by stretching and twisting it. He brings the plastic to the point of breaking, with the material in a permanent state of action/reaction, leading to an explosion of folds and tears. Gesture and thought go hand in hand. This is because, behind the handiwork, behind the texture, which graduates the effects of chance and light, beyond the successive layers of paint that coil and create a sense of relief in this material, there is a mirrored surface that is full of meaning. Certain three-dimensional works, which are formed from luminous matrices that are folded and creased, depict imaginary landscapes in bas-relief, shifting between abstraction and figurative work.

The ebb and flow of the docile plastic calls to mind the skin (be it pleasure or pain), onto which vital energy and concealed emotions are grafted. This skin retains the remnants and marks of our experiences and reveals both the dark and light side of our existence. While Maurice Frydman follows in the footsteps of Michelangelo, he suggests exceptional variations on David’s torso. This part of the human anatomy is the most complex and varied when it comes to its movements. In addition to its formal beauty and the research that continues ad infinitum, this work serves as a cry from the abysses of history. Tragedy is present and muffled in the large formats or the huge sheets, which are produced with masterly dimensions.

Maurice Frydman's roots were initially figurative. He depicted maternity and paternity, but also the opposite of this humanity through drawings and washes of intense emotion, illustrating the horrors of the Holocaust. In these, we imagine the human form rather than recognising it in the attitudes of these naked, slaughtered bodies.

A few years later, the discovery of transparent plastic film marked a turning point in Maurice Frydman’s style. While he is inspired by this unconventional, supple, elastic and seemingly banal material, it is because it is malleable, mobile and alive, closely mirroring the plasticity of the skin. In the hands of the artist, when associated with painting, it quickly takes on a meaning and allows for a range of hybrid works that play with texture, with a language that is common to both sculpture and painting. Abstraction and 3D then take centre stage. The relationship with the material is decisive and essential and both visual and tactile; it is almost carnal because Maurice Frydman shapes it with his own hands by stretching and twisting it. He brings the plastic to the point of breaking, with the material in a permanent state of action/reaction, leading to an explosion of folds and tears. Gesture and thought go hand in hand. This is because, behind the handiwork, behind the texture, which graduates the effects of chance and light, beyond the successive layers of paint that coil and create a sense of relief in this material, there is a mirrored surface that is full of meaning. Certain three-dimensional works, which are formed from luminous matrices that are folded and creased, depict imaginary landscapes in bas-relief, shifting between abstraction and figurative work.

The ebb and flow of the docile plastic calls to mind the skin (be it pleasure or pain), onto which vital energy and concealed emotions are grafted. This skin retains the remnants and marks of our experiences and reveals both the dark and light side of our existence. While Maurice Frydman follows in the footsteps of Michelangelo, he suggests exceptional variations on David’s torso. This part of the human anatomy is the most complex and varied when it comes to its movements. In addition to its formal beauty and the research that continues ad infinitum, this work serves as a cry from the abysses of history. Tragedy is present and muffled in the large formats or the huge sheets, which are produced with masterly dimensions.

— Selected works