Figures of Silence

Jephan de Villiers

Jephan de Villiers’ book is an invitation to break away from the alienating burdens of everyday life and immerse ourselves in an imaginary civilisation. Here, we set out with the artist on a journey to encounter a lost world, where nature and culture were once closely entwined, where humanity lived in harmony with the elements.

Trees and water are of central importance throughout the artist’s work. Whether as a reminder of the origins of life or as testimonies of ancestral beliefs and practices, nothing has been invented in this singular world of sculptures. Everything in his work has been composed and transferred from a forgotten world. His creations are made from materials derived from natural objects that have fallen to the ground: splinters of wood, bark, water chestnuts, rays’ eggs, mysterious sea balls washed up by the ocean and fragments of horseshoe crab shells.

For the artist, the Time he devotes to his work means being alone, in the strictest sense of the word. It is Time spent scouring the ground, in search of materials gathered “on the edge of the world”. His work of one of memory, a tribute to all those on the look-out, watching over our forgotten world.


It was around the age of fourteen that Jephan de Villiers began to make his huge earth villages from the soil, leaves and pieces of bark that he collected in his grandmother’s garden in Chesnay, near Versailles. The circus, theatre and mime were also among his passions. His work as a sculptor and poet has continued ever since. In the 1960s, he encountered Constantin Brancusi’s reconstituted studio. In 1966, his Structures Aquatiales went on show in Paris. A year later, he settled in London where his work was shown regularly. In 1976, he discovered the Forêt de Soignes, the Sonian Forest near Brussels, where his Voyage en Arbonie (Journey into Arbonia) began.

Since 2000, he has lived and worked in Charente-Maritime, not far from the River Gironde. His work invites us to set aside our daily lives and discover an imaginary civilisation that seems to have emerged from a past where humans and nature lived as one. A number of exhibitions have been devoted to his work. His sculptures can be seen in the open air in parks and public spaces, as well as in museums and private collections. “Des Fragments de mémoires” (Fragments of Memory) have been shown in exhibitions across the world.

book details:

ISBN : 978-2-930451-36-7
Cover : Cardboard
Size: 29.7 x 29.7 cm
Pages : 240
Price : 49.50 €
Department : Art
Language: FR-EN

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