John Sauvé

Born 1963

John Sauvé, born in 1963 in Detroit, is an American artist and arts educator. His medium is sculpture and printmaking and has achieved national and international recognition. He was awarded a grant from the Marc Ecco Foundation for his work Man in the City, the first public sculpture exhibit installed on the Highline in New York City. John studied art history at Michigan State University. After finishing his studies, he spent a year traveling through Europe continuing his education in art history. He then returned to Detroit to work for the Michigan Commission on Art in Public Places where he oversaw the installation of public art for the Percent for the Arts Program. He concluded his studies with a degree in Arts Administration at Michigan State University.

John is currently installing the Man in the City project in the City of Detroit and the City of Windsor. The Man in the City is an international sculpture project comprised of 60 sculptures located on rooftops of prominent buildings throughout the City of Windsor. The Man in the City project creates a metaphor for life that transforms the skyline and encourages people to look around. In the discovery process one becomes aware of their sense of place within the City.

John’s work has been exhibited in such high-profile venues as the Venice Biennale, Governor’s Island, the International Sculpture Exhibition in Chicago, Krasl Sculpture Biennale, The Highline, Art Chicago, Elon University Sculpture, Knoxville Sculpture, Birmingham Cityscapes, Delta College, The Ella Sharpe Museum, The Krasl Museum, Cliff Dwellers Chicago, EXPO Chicago, The Brighton Biennial and Millikan Park. John’s sculpture have been or are currently displayed in numerous public spaces in the US, as well as in England, Canada, Germany, Japan, and Italy.

In 2008, the American Institute of Landscape Architects recognized John’s design of the Green Oak Village Sculpture Park with the Merit Award. He was awarded the Ferndale DDA Community Service Award (2014), the City of Birmingham Proclamation (2013), the HMI Award of Excellence (2011), the City of Brighton Visual Art Award (2009), nominated for the Governor’s Award for Arts Advocacy State of Michigan (2008), City of Royal Oak Resolution of Recognition (2007), Michigan Municipal League Community Excellence Award (2007), Boys and Girls Club Honor Roll (2007).

John has served various arts and cultural organizations including, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Michigan Commission on Art in Public Places, Birmingham Public Art Board, Brighton Mayor’s Commission on Art in Public Places and Concerned Citizens for the Arts.

Artist Statement

We are all bodies in space, but where we fit into the scheme of things at large is still an open question. The cumulative effect of seeing the everyday elevated or in a new frame, It is the sense of discovering the same body in different circumstances, so it is less about the subject and more about the content. It has to do with questioning both the status of art and the nature of our built environment. In a time of rising financial and environmental awareness it asks the questions where does the human being fit into the scheme of things, more importantly, who we are and who we have to be.””

John references philosophy, literature and history by approaching the human figure with an idealized representation. Borrowing from Heidegger’s concept of “Dasein,” Jung’s interest in the shadow and the Faustian Legend, John’s sculpture is as much about the figure as the shadow it casts. This relationship highlights his interest in the question of being and the covenant the individual will make to exist. John challenges the viewer by presenting the figure in public spaces utilizing the environment as a way to question what it means to existence and the relationship between the individual and the collective.

Works in the Park