Le Samouraï

Bronze,1989 - (179x110 cm)

This imposing figure of a Samurai warrior is made of an assemblage of a wide variety of material.  The protective helmet that he wears is constructed from a wood crate and wrapping material that is bound together by rope wound several times around his head. The whole entity follows the criteria for the traditional “kabutos” (helmets), which were designed to frighten the enemy.  To compose the figure’s arsenal, a wide array of recovered objects and material (bits of woven rug, card, wood, bamboo, gardening gloves, rope and metal lock) have replaced the leather, lacquer and various metal alloys – of gold, silver and copper – that are used to make the plates of traditional Japanese armor.

To salvage discarded objects – “junk” – and to transform them into an outfit that commands such respect is a perfect illustration of the artist’s benevolent sense of humor. This friendly wink is accentuated by the fact that the figure is engaged not in warfare but busy playing a string game, an ancient pastime that gives a poetic and even pacific dimension to this work.

From the 1960’s onwards, Antoni Clavé forged very personal ties to the country of Japan, a land where the artist held numerous exhibitions of his work and which would be a source of inspiration for his paintings in the series “Retour du Japon” at the end of the 1980’s.

The first site to be entirely devoted to the work of Antoni Clavé, designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, was inaugurated near Tokyo in 2011.