Making objects, undoubtedly to make oneself, to learn, to save – perhaps for the pleasure of making, to fix, circumbscribe, to gather oneself together, to take inventory of one’s ashes, to give sign, to speak, to arouse emotion, to make oneself understood, to be loved, to be with others, to accept oneself, to eternalize oneself, to forget oneself, making objects because there is nothing else to do, because they impose themselves, because they offer the promise of joy, a breath of happiness, making objects for all of these reasons at once. They are the images wich question existence. Joseph Henrion, 1975.
Joseph Henrion had been a student at the Beaux-arts Academy in Boitsfort, on the outskirts of Brussels, since the age of 12, and subsequently taught drawing, painting and engraving there, from the beginning of the 1960s. But ultimately, while he had great ability in the field, he did not find that he could adequately express his creativity through painting. His encounter with African arts caused him to devote himself almost exclusively to sculpture in 1968, when he was already 31 years old. He reinvented, and taught himself lost wax techniques, and produced complex works using them. He even built a foundry as an annex to his studio. All of his three-dimensional works were created in the fifteen years wich followed, and only a little 130 works are known, including the smaller pieces. Henrion was aware of his talent, and would have welcomed acclaim, but true artist that he was, promoting his own work was not something he was prepared to devote his time and energy to. The relatively small number of works he created, in spite of the fact that he worked tirelessly and continuously, is further evidence of his commitment to artistic excellence.