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September 24, 2022

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French artist’s tryst with lacquer on ‘my side of the mountain’

“My Side of the Mountain,” a solo exhibition by French artist Vincent Cazeneuve, showcases his work over the last two years after his resettlement in the Daba Mountains in central China.

Featuring nearly 20 works, including several large-scale pieces, the exhibition encompasses his insightful research into ancient Yi lacquer culture, while continuing his exploration of materials and craftsmanship.

The artist is so addicted to the charm of lacquer that he fully enjoys his days in the Daba Mountains. Abundant in lacquer trees and bamboo forests, the Daba Mountains provide Cazeneuve with an “otherworldly” working and living environment.

From his side of the mountain, the artist watches the clouds move through the mountains and the sun rise and set.

“It is essential for me to build an emotional connection with the materials I use, and to feel their transformation in my hands,” he said.

Each day, Cazeneuve walks from his home through the lacquer forest to his studio, contemplating, observing the growth of the lacquer trees and listening to the sounds of nature, while the bamboo weaving material immediately available in the forest also facilitates the artist’s creative experiments.

His continuing research into the history of lacquer and its related traditional crafts has been an important catalyst for his work, enabling him to break the constraints of traditional concepts such as the lacquer painting and lacquerware and create his own abstract totem.

In fact, lacquer art is a craft developed in China known for its difficulty and beauty with a history that dates back more than 7,000 years. It involves dauntingly precise work repeated many times over.

The ancient lacquer culture of the Yi people has been the focus of Cazeneuve’s research over the past two years, as the use of lacquer penetrates all areas of Yi’s social life.

Born in 1977 in Toulouse, France, Cazeneuve completed his studies at Ecole des Metiers d’Art in Revel before opening his first studio that specialized in restoring Western and Asian lacquer wares.

Cazeneuve is fascinated with integrating unusual materials into lacquer art, varying from old rice bags, bamboo basket, gold leaves to hen coop as well as ancient Yi leather armor.

The spotlight of the exhibition is a five-panel folding screen inspired by the Art Deco period and the artist’s largest rice-bag-fabric lacquer piece to date. The ruffled texture of the rice bag is reflected in the polished gold leaves, like a sunlit mountain range, rocky and yet fluid like the waves of the sea.

The artist believes that all materials are the same other than temperament and style. The textures of these materials are translated into visual works with a series of layering, grinding and polishing.

Exhibition info:



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