This retrospective exhibition “Trace et Volume” (Trace and Volume) of sculptures and drawings by DIETRICH-MOHR is not only devoted to his exemplary works but also celebrates exactly fifty years of his work and life in Paris. The artist arrived there in 1951 and immediately enrolled at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Montparnasse and worked in Zadkine’s studio.

The exhibition provides an excellent overview of his works, successfully combining paper and metal, brought together under the alluring title “TRACE et VOLUME”. Even in one of the first bronze sculptures by DIETRICH-MOHR, entitled “Réalité dépassée” (Beyond reality) (1957), the cubist influence was evident. Zadkine’s presence is still very much felt! The road was to be long and fruitful. But can you not feel, here and now, in this piece what the young sculptor was to become? Already the faintest hint of his stamp, his mark was beginning to assert itself. Admittedly, the artist was travelling a very spontaneous path. He knew he was devoted to geometry, to finding a balance in the forms constructed, which he still seeks in his current pieces.

…After a short figurative period, which already heralded the informal, we find ourselves in 1960. His pieces from this time include Limpide (Limpid) (1960) which was a perfect harbinger of the true conceptual appearance of all his future works. The sculpture is composed of metal sheets

Unquestionably, his work was beginning to assert itself, refine itself and reveal its powerfulness. A few years later, he began to establish a very personal style that would win him universal acceptance and a real reputation for excellence. With “Nuit transfigurée” (Night transfigured) (1963) he took a new approach to the fullness and hollowness without ever allowing light to pass through the work. But already the vertical plates and horizontal strips of zinc (for this piece) used inventive volumes to create a novel world.

The positive and negative had been established. But did DIETRICH-MOHR know then that he had just found the path that would lead him onto the world stage?… He was to continue his search until his works became more open to the light, finally becoming transparent. The backgrounds of the interior partitions disappeared, allowing the sky and nature to sweep through the work giving it a very different dimension, an indisputable spatiality. He attained monumentality; his daring assemblages were superb.

DIETRICH-MOHR’s sculptures are indeed daring. You could even talk about an appetite for risk in terms of the balance, taken to the extreme…

Rigour, intensity, open-mindedness and availability are key qualities for this artist who is in constant search of his own roots and of his ongoing experiences with doubt

Patrick-Gilles Persin

“TRACE et VOLUME” catalogue, Exhibition Espace Culturel de l’Auditoire, Ville de Bonneval, Eure-et Loir 2001