Etienne-Martin (1913-95) made his name in France as a sculptor of 'dwelling-sculptures': sculptures with exteriors and interiors, which open and close, that the viewer can enter inside. All these dwellings derive from the sculptor's memory of his childhood home.
After studying in Lyon, the artist moved to Paris in 1934, where he established his first studio in Rue du Pot de Fer. After being taken prisoner during the war, he returned to the Drôme area of central France and lived in artistic communities in Oppède, Dieulefit and Mortagne. In 1947 he returned to Paris, setting up his studio in the same street as before, and from 1954 embarked on his Dwelling sculptures, each of which maps on to a given room or area of his childhood home.
Throughout his career the sculptor made drawings which map and codify the different temporal spatial zones of the house, as the sculptor explains to Irmeline Lebeer in this interview from 1974, first published as 'Le Grand Jeu d'Etienne-Martin' in Chronicques de L'Art Vivant.
This essay was published to accompany an exhibition of Etienne-Martin's 'dwelling-drawings' in Leeds Art Gallery, 5 February - 30 April 2000.
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