Succulents

From March 17 to April 27, 2019
Alice Mogabgab – Brussels presents the exhibition
Clémence van Lunen
Succulents
Recent sculptures

French version (PDF) English version (PDF) Dutch version (PDF)

Clémence van Lunen was born in Brussels in 1959; she lives and works in France. From 1979 to 1984 she studied under the sculptor Michel Smolders at the Ecole Supérieure d’Arts Plastiques in Brussels and later under the sculptor Etienne Martin at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts in Paris. Having used wood structures for her early works, she went on to develop her sculptures in ceramic. After various residencies in Spain (with a grant from the Casa Vélasquez from 1991 to 1993), then in France (at the Rairies Montrieux, in 2004) and in China, where she studied on a regular basis between 2004 and 2009 with master Liu at Jingdezhen, van Lunen has continually broadened her experience and masters many different techniques of ceramic art. In 2006 she was invited by the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres to create two editions in bisque porcelain, Dragon dans les nuages, and Floating Flowers. In 2008, 2009 and 2017 she was invited to the European Ceramic Work Centre (EKWC) in Holland for new research. Clémence van Lunen works thematically in a number of series. These are entitled Rocailles, Doodles, Vagues, Gothic, Wicked Flowers, Tang Family and Brick & Flowers.
Clémence van Lunen’s sculptures are regularly exhibited in art galleries, at international art fairs and museums. Major institutions having hosted her work since 2013 include Musée Royal, Mariemont, Belgium (2013), Musée des Beaux-arts Eugène Leroy, Tourcoing (2014), Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan (2015), Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht (2015), Cité de la Céramique, Sèvres (2015), Maison Rouge, Paris (2016), Hôtel de Ville des Baux-de-Provence (2016), Musée National des Arts Décoratifs, Paris (2016) and Musée des Arts Décoratifs et du Design, Bordeaux (2018). In 2018 the city of Bordeaux inaugurated, under the guidance of artistic director Catherine David, two monumental fountains by van Lunen, issued from the series Wicked Flowers.

Succulents. These recent sculptures by Clémence van Lunen are created with industrially fabricated hollow bricks. The still humid bricks are cut, twisted, stuck together, fired, enamelled, re-fired and assembled. Finally, the assembled pieces take on forms resembling plants with fleshy parts: succulents.
Contrary to Wicked Flowers, sculpted from unformed stoneware clay and roughly worked into shape in a powerful hand-to-hand process, the Succulents have their own inner architecture which the artist explores and boldly manipulates: « It is important for me to always seek new formal languages. »

Jubilation is a booklet in French, Dutch, English and Arabic accompanying the exhibition. It contains an essay by Yves Michaud, and is designed and printed in Beirut by the Editions de la Galerie.
As so well said by Yves Michaud « Although Clémence van Lunen states that she is presenting us with ‘Succulents’, these succulents are just as much phantoms, knights in armour, large ears, antennas on rugged robots, hooded flagellants, stacks of waffles, combs of honey, dilapidated sky scrapers, or flowers… And if the artist, almost without having to think about it, produces fantasies and illusions, the viewer returns the sentiment by doing the same without worrying about permission or titles. »

Yves Michaud, a former student at the École Normale Supérieure, is a professor of philosophy. He has been teaching at the universities of Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier, Rouen, Berkeley, Edinburgh, Tunis and Sao Paulo, and since 1985 at Paris Sorbonne. In his capacity as art critic he was director of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts de Paris from 1989 to 1996, and as designer and organiser of “L’université de tous les savoirs”, he was chief editor of Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris from 1986 to 1990. His areas of interest are aesthetics, contemporary art and cultural philosophy. He is the author of numerous books on art, luxury and politics, notably La crise de l’art contemporain, Critères esthétiques et jugement de goût, L’art à l’état gazeux, Les marges de la vision.