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Jean-Bernard Métais has been creating for public art projects since the early 1980's. Most of his major works were commissioned by public institutions or developed for international competitions. His work can be found in both natural and urban settings.

His approach integrates many diverse elements. It all begins with the way the location stimulates his imagination.  “Making art in the public sphere,” says Métais, “means building a bond with a place and the people who live in it. My sculpting is essentially based upon the experimenting I do with the place I work in. The elements I bring into play are not an attempt to explain the location; they try to create a resonance, a sensorial bond between people and their environment.”

Métais' public art is both visual and conceptual. It is a specific response to each place, to each given situation. His artistic approach to sculpture begins with a formal construction, based on an interpretation of context, and responds to the location's physicality, its urban and architectural setting. 

Neither obscure nor intransigent, Métais' work emerges as a subtle balance of asserting a sculpture's presence in a location, while communicating with the surrounding elements of which it is composed. Building upon this formal approach, he uses the social and cultural life and history of the place as sources for his conceptual process.  The work resonates with the location, creating a symbolic yet tangible point of reference for its inhabitants. Métais often uses words to convey ideas that aim to reveal the location's function and unique character. The words he chooses, usually short, are significant for what they represent, but also for their expressiveness, imagery and poetic richness. This work with words also entails design research with the graphics themselves, to make them an integral part of the work's aesthetic dimension.

In Métais' work over the past twenty-five years, recurring themes can be seen:  the stable and the random, the fragility of the present instant.  He uses and mixes diverse materials without concern for whether they correspond to established techniques, from stainless steel to bronze, aluminium, glass and wood... but he also elaborates his work with sand, fire, water, wind, light and vegetation...  According to the needs of each individual project, he explores and experiments with the materials that are most apt to serve the work within its given context.

The construction stage is an important part of his work. For Métais, the sculptor's role does not end with the production of a blueprint. The actual making of the piece is of the utmost importance to him. The technical team Métais has been collaborating with for many years now is tight-knit and professionally solid, ensuring him total mastery of his projects.

Herve-Armand BECHY, June 2008

• Born in Le Mans, France

• School of Fine Arts, Le Mans and Paris
• History of Art, Louvre Museum

• Travels in the deserts of South Morocco and Mauritania
• First observation of sounds produced by the movement of sand dunes
• Creates workshops in Courdemanche (La Sarthe) and Ozenay (Burgundy)

• First creation of the Equinox and Immersed Pieces Series, monumental
• works in natural or urban
• settings relating to the sun – Formentera, Spain
• Takes charge of the family winery in Jasnieres, France
• Orixas and the Forest (DRAC grant) – extensive travel in the Amazon,Brazil
• Travels in India, Jaipur and the desert of North India
• Equinox and Immersed Pieces Series – monumental works in Creteil and

1985 - 2012: Public Collections and Commissions
• Duality Eu, France
• Fluorescence Kumamoto, Japan
• Create Yourself in the World Beijing, China
• Fisherman of Light Bergen, Norway
• The Letter Euqueurdreville, France
• Allotted Time II Le Mans, France.
• Alliance St Davids2, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
• Clepsydra Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, Levallois, France
• The Wave Luxembourg city, Luxembourg
• Valenciennes Valenciennes, France
• Walking Through Walls Luxembourg city, Luxembourg
• The Halo Porte Maillot, Paris, France
• Word-Being Regional Archives, La Sarthe, France
• Vibrant Boa, Brussels, Belgium
• Word-Being Belleville sur Rhône, France
• La Chambre de Phaistos Le Creusot, France
• Allotted Time-Eclipse Jardin des Plantes, National Museum of Natural
History, Paris. France
• Avalanche, Landslide and Allotted Time Series La Villette,
Cité des Sciences, Paris, France
• The Door of Sahel Dakar, Senegal

2000 - 2012: Solo Exhibitions and Projects
• The Ring Middle Dock, London, England
• Time and Landscapes Universal Expo 2000, French Pavilion, Hanover,
• Germany
• Retrospective, “Works in Sand” Le Mans, France
• SGBL 50 Years of Innovation Beirut, Lebanon
• Pollen – London, England
• Passage Bordeaux, France
• Immersion Queensbridge, London, England
• Two-Headed Vancouver, Canada.
• Pescator Park, Wall Passage Luxembourg city, Luxembourg
• An Anthropological Structure of the Imaginary Strasbourg, France
• Allotted Time Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris, France
• Promenade Road Port of Dublin, Ireland
• Creating Knowledge Palais de la Découverte, Paris, France
• Allotted Time The Cartier Foundation, Jouy-en-Josas, France
• Works on Kepler’s 8 Artist Residency, Berlin, Oberkirchen, Germany
• Allotted Time Utopia Park, Los Angeles, USA
• Dispossession Beirut, Lebanon
• irreversible Allotted Time Torino, Italy
• Group Exhibitions and Artist Residencies
• Secret Garden Ivry-sur-Seine, France
• 1.2.3 Sun – Eclipse Chamber Donjon de Vez, France
• The Sun at its Zenith Perth, Australia
• Pierre and Marie Curie Jussieu, Paris, France
• FRAC Loire Valley Fontevraud, France
• The Cartier Foundation, Artist Residency, Jouy-en-Josas, France
• Galerie Froment-Putman Paris, France
• Irreversible Time Goshi Gaya, Japan
• Orixas and the Forest (DRAC grant) Brazil
• Men in the Forest Lubumbashi, DR Congo


• Polyphony - public commission, Vitry-sur-Seine (France)
• Phoenix - carte blanche commission, Jurong (China)
• 2142 Jurong - carte blanche commission, Jurong (China)
• Spinning Wave - project, Bordeaux (France)
• Grand Memorial - project, Lorette (France)
• Architect Art Work - Grand Hall de la Villette - Paris 2012

• Jurong 2142 - Jurong (China)
• Phoenix - Jurong (China)
• Silk Dragon - Jurong (China)
• Face to Face - Lyon (France)
• Passions-partagées (Shared Passions) - Group exhibition,
• Château de Poncé, Poncé-sur-le-Loir, Sarthe, France
• As of 2013, represented in France and Belgium by
• La Galerie Vieille du Temple. Marie-Hélène de La Forest Divonne

• Sensorial Room / Jurong 2142 - Jurong (China)
• Phoenix-Oriflamme - Tianjin (China)
• Vortex - Jurong (China)

• Solo exhibition - Galerie Vieille du Temple.
• Marie-Hélène de La Forest Divonne, Paris
• Art Paris Art Fair 2015 - Grand Palais, Paris
• Red Sun - Changra (China)
• Wind Organ - Nanjing (China)
• Undertaking - Bordeaux (France)
• The Clock - Le Havre (France)
• Margot - private collection / 2ème étude (Luxembourg)

• Stratification of the Invisible - with Guy de Malherbe, Château de Poncé, Poncé-sur-le-Loir, Sarthe, France
• The canoe - Bréhat sur mer - France
• The fireplace - Margot project - Luxembourg
• Personal exhibition - Galerie Marie Hélène de la Forêt Divonne - Belgium

• Drunkenness - Carte blanche exhibition at the Musée des Beaux Arts in Lille - France

• Now - Théartre des martyrs - Brussels - Belgium
• Sensitive column - Saint Gilles Town Hall - Brussels - Belgium
• Utopia - Place Making Brussels - Belgium
• Memorial - Le Bourget - France
• Sanya - Port of Sanya - China

• AoYang - Sculptures - China
• Sanya - Sculpture trail, Port of Sanya - China
• Personal exhibition - Sylvacane Abbey - France
• Personal exhibition - Shanghai - China

EXHIBITION 2019-2020
• Brussels exhibition - Sensory rooms -
Galerie de la Forêst Divonne - Belgium

EXHIBITION 2020-2021
• Personal exhibition - The sensory rooms - Château de Poncé (Sarthe)

• Time limit and landscapes 3 - Universal Exhibition - Dubai
• Current project - Oceania in Qianhai - Shenzhen (China)
architectural project with F. Valentiny
• Current project - Crossing - Pittsburgh (USA)
Architectural project with M. Chevalier

Jean-Bernard Métais lives and works in Paris and in Sarthe and since 2012 represents Studio Métais in Jurong and Shanghai in China. Jean-Bernard Métais lives and works in Paris and in Sarthe.
Since 2012, he represents Studio Métais in Jurong and Shanghai, China.




China (2012-2019)

Selected Artworks




Work in Sand

Video Presentation