“Rozen remains completely a painter, so much so that it is possible to see in his canvases only a roar of color, the turbulence of his fires. On the other hand, his sculpture insists by definition more willingly on realism. It summarizes its strengths, it encloses it in a kind of very rapid, even elliptical, spatial signaling, whose elegance is a testament of discretion: it is best not to linger, in brief – to speak of the anguish that ties, the gesture that wounds, the dialog that is steeped in silence, freedom impossible.”
Jean-Jacques Lévêque in his preface to “ROZEN, Paintings – Sculptures 1971-75,” Paris M.I.A., 1975.
On January 23, 1978, Felix Rozen wrote to Jean-Maurice Rouquette, Curator of the Musées d’Arles:
Since our meetings in Arles last summer, I often think of you and the remarkable work you do for your museums.
I have a particularly vivid memory of your exhibition on Mesopotamian art (…).
As a child, one of the first artistic images that impressed me (…) was a painting on the theme of shoes in a 1948 book about Van Gogh.
As a teenager, shoes played an important role in another personal event that touched me. I’d rather tell you in person, but I’ll try all the same to summarize it.
At the time, it was difficult to get shoes in Poland. One day, my mother managed to obtain a number of pairs. Given their rarity, she saw fit to constitute a small stock. These shoes later took on an extreme significance, since they survived my mother and I found them after her death by accident in a corner of a closet she had reserved for them. All this took on a new artistic dimension when, in 1972, I discovered another shoe in Collias…
… a “little granny shoe” buried in the earth. “What a beautiful rock!” I thought at first, since it showed only its tip, the tip of the iceberg. Imagine my astonishment when I wanted to play geologist and I grabbed the rock! It wasn’t a mere pebble, but a real house: a splendid, twisted anthill-shoe (with a strap as for a little girl, but also with a heel, so ra-ther for a grandmother). A shoe anchored vertically in the earth, in which existed life, that of a whole anthill that had settled there.
This is how the idea of the shoe was superimposed, in the past and in the present, in my head to become an acquisition of my creative subconscious (…).
In the 1970s, Felix Rozen made bronze casts of his sculptures at the Clementi Foundry in Meudon and at Bernard Grollier’s home in Jaunay-Clan, near Poitiers.
In the early 1980s, after spending several months in New York City, his work took a turn that was “completely new (…). Until then, my sculptures were made of bronze. Now, I used much less ‘refined’ materials: the wax that used to be my preparation material became an autonomous material colored in the mass using pigments. Then, after a meeting with art-ist-firework expert Pierre-Alain Hubert, other explosive ‘materials’ were added.” Cf. The wax sculptures and fire rope, on the last image of this section.