Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Rik Ryon

The work of Rik Ryon mainly consist of copper sculptures 1914-1918

Rik Ryon’s sculptures take a remarkable place within contemporary art about war and peace. Not only do they have World War I as central theme, the are made of original shell driving bands in copper. His soldiers are not abstract, but realistic an profoundly human.

The work of Rik Ryon (Proven - Flanders) has its roots in a long tradition of trench art. Using war copper to make ornament and decorations was one of the favourite pastimes at an behind the front. After the war, thousands of objects were commercialised and the first battlefield tourists were eager to buy them. Even today, many Flemish mantelpieces hold a pair of ornament shell cases. Rik Ryon is one of the few artists today who still have the skills and techniques to make these kinds of sculptures.

However, Rik Ryon’s figures are more than just decoration. They confront us with the artist’s deepest respect an empathy for the daily life of the soldier. Rik Ryon has always been interested in the Great War. Being an active member of the Association for Battlefield Archaeology in Flanders, he finds his inspitation while searching the old battlefields.

A last important element in Rik Ryon’s work is his strong commitment to the Westhoek area. This also shows in his aphorismus, his earthenware an other copper sculptures, such as his famous statues of “the Lacemaking Lady” nearby the Weeuwhof in Poperinge, “the Hop Picker” in the entrance of the National Hopmuseum in Poperinge, “the Mower” at Roesbrugge, “The Brewer” at Krombeke, “the Smith” at Watou, smuggler “Karel de Blauwer” in Haringe, etc.

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