1975 - 1979
The Brazilian experience is followed by two long stays in the Balkans and new sources of research. In 1976, Jean Hirtzel dedicates his studies to the frescos of orthodox monasteries in Kosovo and the Peloponnese region and extensively visits the principal sites of ancient Greece and archaeological museums. His long stay in Greece in 1977 is dominated entirely by his life experiences with the Gypsies. After moving to Bains de l’Alliaz (Blonay, Switzerland) in November 1977, Jean Hirtzel also sculpts.
His study of Byzantine frescos leads him to simplified compositions : using big areas of solid colour, mat materials and archetypal signs, especially in his work on crosses. The gypsy experience provides his artwork with the notion of “ephemeral” and “unfinished”, translated by the themes of screens and curtains that both hide and reveal.
Since his installation at Bains de l’Alliaz, sculpture takes on an increasingly more important place in his creation. The land next to his studio becomes a sculpture park ; both a place of experimentation and exhibition. This three dimensional research follows a parallel path to the pictorial work, going from essential forms to archaic figures.