Jean-Paul Philippe studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris from when he was 16 years old but has started painting when he was very young. In 1960, he was deeply moved by a travel in Italy. He moved to Florence the next year and worked at the Drawing Cabinet of the Offices, sharing intimacy with works from the Quattrocento. Encounters multiply and led Jean-Paul Philippe to discover the Carrare marble quarries. The path to sculpture is open. Doors, steles, labyrinths, hopscotches… these are the themes and predilections of the artist, tireless sculptor of stone, his favorite material. He does nothing more that takings off what covers it, working through successive removals in order to make visible what it contains and shelters. Not claiming himself from any group, school or system, the artist creates installations between Earth and Heaven, true inner archaeologies, gardens of melancholies of the human realm and the transitory cycle of life – like the Egyptian and Pre-Colombian statuaries that inspire him.
His œuvre is achieved in the intimacy of his studio as well as in public space, from drawings to sculptures, from urban spaces to natural environments. His open-air installation-habitation, which he calls the Transitory Site, is displayed since 1993 in the austere and magnificent landscape of the Crests, a piece of sky framed by the hills of Asciano, across from the city of Sienna. He initiated a dialogue between several elements of grey basalt with nature, composing a monumental installation where stone molds to the site in harmony with the cosmos.
The gallery has presented Jean-Paul Philippe’s work from 1981 until today. In 2015, in Gardens of Melancholies I, was shown in the exhibition Quinte-Essence – air-water-earth-fire-ether, celebrating the gallery’s 90th anniversary.