Art-Movie-Book spent the day with Louis Olivier at his studio – The Workhorse Bronze Foundry – on casting day and oh my word!!! What an incredible, all consuming experience to be in that spectacular space, where all the magic happens.
This old industrial space, was given a second chance at life a few years ago when it became an artists studio/chemical lab/office and exhibition space. Everything excruciating and romantic about the sculpting process comes together here.
You walk through the doors and another world unfolds in front of you. A twirling staircase floats up and down to different levels with workspaces for each part of the laborious art making process. The almost unbearable heat from the kilns threatens to knock the breath right out of you and the sound of the sizzling heat from the ovens, chains hoisting heavy moulds and blocks of metal up and down with a pulley just outside the building whirr to the rhythm of the chiseling and hammering happening inside.
Louis calls bronze the ultimate medium, but getting a bronze piece on exhibition is no small feat. The first step is the ‘idea’, but it takes more than a few hands to finish a bronze sculpture and Louis has a small army of men all working to create one of his masterpieces.Just as beautiful and precious as the work is that comes out of the kiln, so dangerous and deadly it can be. Every person in this team knows this, so watching them work is like watching a slow dance, with every single person knowing exactly what step in the process he is expected to take, when and how it needs to be taken and at what second he needs to move.
Painstaking care is taken to cast the bronze and as the fire breaths life into the Artist’s vision, everyone stands in respectful silence to observe the miracle taking place, as a new life is born.
We first met with Louis’ work about 3 years ago and it was love at first sight. Butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, pacing up and down in front of the gallery, gathering up the courage to take the leap of faith and ask if you can take it home with you, must have it, kind of love. The two figure studies are now in our home, where they are met with happy smiles daily.
Like many great men, Louis’ purpose in life became clear when he met the love of his life – his beautiful wife, who saved him from spending his days behind a desk and convinced him of his calling as an artist. After his sell-out first solo exhibition, his fate was sealed and he has only gone from strength to strength from there.
We, at Art-Movie-Book, along with many other art-lovers, are incredibly grateful to his wife and many mentors along the way for ensuring that Louis Olivier is an artist and sculptor that we always look forward to seeing new work from. We are always keeping an eye out for new work from him and we suggest you do the same.