Born in Alexandria, Egypt, 1959.
Yves Dana creates sculptures in stone, plaster and bronze inspired by the restrained, pared-back forms of ancient Egyptian sculpture. In 1961, the Dana family left Egypt for Switzerland, where the artist settled. After studying Sociology at the University of Lausanne (1979–1981), Dana set up his first sculpture studio and earned an MFA from l’École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Geneva, in 1983. From then on, Dana devoted his time entirely to sculpture and spent years exploring different materials, principally iron, quickly achieving recognition with regular exhibitions.
In 1996, a trip to Egypt – which had retained a powerful appeal during Dana’s years in Switzerland – proved transformative to his work. Over six months, Dana researched ancient Egyptian sculpture, fascinated with its powerful grace and purity of form. Working on the edges of the Egyptian desert, Dana started to sculpt with plaster and stone, redirecting his aesthetic toward simpler forms. This period notably marked the beginning of his Stèles series, modelled on the ancient stone slabs engraved with hieratic script he had encountered. The distinctive clean lines and minimalist carving of Cycladic idols proved a further source of inspiration.
Dana sources the best quality stone from around the world, including limestone from Egypt, France and Turkey, serpentine from Italy and diabase from Germany. He combines innovative carving techniques with traditional tools to create precise planar forms. With each work created over several weeks or months, the physicality of carving stone, with deep sensitivity to its tones and texture, is evident in the subtlest details of each work.
In 1987, at the suggestion of the City of Lausanne, Dana moved his studio to the Orangerie of Parc Mon Repos. The sunlit 19th-century orangery offered a double-height space that allowed Dana to create work on a larger scale. His monumental sculptures are in public spaces worldwide, including in the United States of America, France, Greece, Switzerland and Japan. Dana’s work has been selected for important museums and gallery exhibitions, including the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain; Musée Jenisch, Vevey, Switzerland; Jan Krugier Gallery, New York and Galerie Krugier-Ditesheim, Geneva. In 2015, Dana’s works were presented in a retrospective exhibition at Arlaud Museum, Lausanne and chronicled in a significant 420-page monograph. The same year, he received the Grand Prix from the Vaudoise Foundation for Culture.
Yves Dana lives and works in Lausanne, Switzerland.