Yves Dana was born in Alexandria, Egypt on June 25, 1959. His family lived in Alexandria for generations, but migrated to Switzerland in 1961 when Dana was a young child. Dana received a BA in Sociology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland and a MFA from l’Ecole des Beaux Arts of Geneva.
Throughout his life, Dana has always maintained a strong fascination for his homeland. This nostalgic longing led Dana to travel back to Egypt in 1996, an experience that ultimately transformed his sculptural practice. His early work consists primarily of iron abstractions that evoke associations to machines and instruments, but in Egypt he began working with stone for the first time. In Egypt, Dana became inspired by hieratic art, and began work on his famous “Stele” series of sculptures, which are modeled after the ancient upright stone slabs bearing engraved designs and inscriptions.
He was inspired by the power and purity of form in ancient Egyptian sculpture, which led him to simplify his shapes and surfaces into the elegant sculptural forms that have defined his later works. Although ancient Egyptian sculpture is his primary reference, Dana has also cited the distinctive clean-lined and minimalist figurative sculpture of Cycladic idols as a source of inspiration.
Dana favors materials of iron, bronze, and internationally imported stone. These stones include basalt from Sweden, limestone from France and Turkey, serpentine from Italy, and diabase from Germany. Dana engages with these materials through a combination of innovative techniques and traditional tools, which allow him to achieve precise plane structures. Each sculpture is the result of a solitary, often athletic process of transforming the raw matter over the course of several weeks or months. Through this long and arduous work, difficult materials are transformed into sculptures that appear graceful, timeless, and serene.
Dana currently resides in Lausanne, Switzerland, and creates out of his studio L’Orangerie de Mont-Repos.