May his joy remain!

By Romuald de Richemont and Claude Godfryd


At twenty-eight, one can say that he has a well-born soul. Painter, theater designer, restorer of palaces and museums, Romain de Souza has already exhibited in France and abroad. But this is the first time he has shown his personal work as a sculptor. We met the Parisian artist in his studio, forty-eight hours before the opening.

Drawn features, cheeks hollowed à la Artaud, still valiant despite the stress and fatigue of the preparations, Romain de Souza guides us through his shambles: "It's the Bronx here", laughs the artist with a silhouette as slender as his metal sculptures. In front of the studio door, he shows us L'Homme-Chaise, the favorite creation that allowed him in 2005 to emerge crowned from the venerable Ecole Boule. "It all started thanks to her," he said, sitting down inside the brazed work with the copper rod. A second later, moved by the spring of anxiety, he leads us to the mezzanine where his works await departure. There, despite the austerity of the place, you feel miraculously well, relaxed. It's normal, since we are in… paradise!

The scenography that the sculptor puts in place will be the same as at the exhibition. “For me, harmony is everything. In a field of sculptures in the middle of the room, the pieces can be seen at the same time by several people who will thus meet their eyes. Multiplying the facets, the combination of poetry, tenderness and meaning that we discover is fascinating in its power and finesse. And for good reason. Romain de Souza, captivated by the pathetic work of Zoran Music – which he discovered when he was a child – probes the suffering that beauty sublimates. At twenty-eight, he has the depth of a man for whom hope and compassion have long ceased, alas! empty words. Far from fads, bringing his soul into play in a fiery dialogue with metal, he stirs up chance to hitch it to the chariot of technique, until the harmony of forms responds to the grandeur of the themes that inspire him. inspire. So, the ultimate reward, joy radiates his work and transcends the pain that carries it. Martyred feet of the dancer conquering the sky; gnarled, puny, solitary hands that seek each other and join in love or prayer; uncertain face to face of faces and time; openwork torsos on the mystery of our entrails: each sculpture by Romain de Souza celebrates the grace in which the bruised body rises. The bursts of brass, copper and iron densify the space and transform it into an allegorical bird of fire, whose delicate flight we follow in twenty-eight wingbeats. Twenty-eight unique pieces, the fruit of five years of hard work, which, one last time, shine before our eyes in the emptiness and pallor of a Villejuif shed.

Happily, two days later, under the bluish glass roof of the Espace Kiron, we find them more resplendent than ever near their creator: "My sculptures and I, we feel as good here as at home", s entertains Romain de Souza, surrounded by an endless stream of pretty women. Now relaxed, beaming in a Nehru jacket in turquoise cashmere, he receives his guests, a cup in his hand. Champagne, Himalayan cheese, the guests eat while detailing the wall of sketches facing the bar. Quickly, the buzz of the first arrivals gives way to the hubbub of the crowd. At nightfall, coating the interlacing of pieces shining like gold, the lines of the lighting link the works together. "To finance my studies, I was an usher at the Paris Opera, explains the artist with the physique of a young premier, it was there that I discovered how dancers, once on stage, transmute technique into art. , the bodies constrained in clean lines”. Illustrating “this ephemeral movement of letting go where souls rise up”, Glissement, the sculpture that is on the poster for the exhibition, symbolizes the ecstatic weightlessness of the moment when the dancer's toes touch the ground. Airy grace found in the sculpted foot of Nicolas Le Riche, which overlooks all the other pieces, and which the artist has named Merci, in homage to the star dancer. From the feet, Romain de Souza naturally moved on to the hands and faces, then to the heart that animates them, and finally to the entrails: “I wanted to give beauty to what is hidden. Since I tighten the brass rods, I feel more just to express the sorrows of the body and the spirit. While remaining faithful to the figurative, don't these sculpted torsos open the doors of abstraction? It is no coincidence that L'Oiseau de Feu, Stravinsky's famous and often choreographed symphony, gives its name to one of the latest creations of this young artist who, this evening, proves that he is on his own. But already, Romain de Souza is taking a few friends out into the open air, where, on the sidewalk, groups of guests of all ages are making as much noise as the students at the exit of the Simon course, a door away.