Cécile Chareyron : organic sculpture.

Organic sculpture.

Cécile Chareyron sculpts small objects mixing anatomy, plants and spirituality, themes that are apparently separate but for the artist, they all stem from the same thing : Nature. Her work reveals a great finesse and a very refreshing and atypical creativity. Let’s discover a sculptor like any other.

Date: 7 January 2020
City: Paris
Artisan: Cécile Chareyron
Can you tell us about the beginning of your artistic journey?


At first, I wanted to be set designer for theatre. I went to art school in Lyon for two years, which helped me a lot in developing my artistic culture and affirming my take on things. As I was still a bit immature at the time, I felt the need of pursuing a more technical training: I moved to Paris where I studied synthetic materials at Olivier de Serre – ENSAAMA.

Did your desire to work in set designing faded at that point?


Yes, little by little, I strayed away from that initial desire. I found out that set designing was a lot drawing and blueprints but not much manual work, which was what I really enjoyed. Even though I worked for set designing workshops – amongst others – I gradually diverged towards working on my own projects.

What did your experience in set designing bring you?


It allowed me to improve my technical skills such as working with resin, molding and casting, which are techniques that I use everyday in my current activity!

I also learnt to interpret a brief: when I was answering an order, I had to develop the ability to adapt to someone else’s idea, even though there is always some creativity involved…

When did you begin your current activity?


I have always created for myself on the side of my studies and my work. It’s been a little over three years since I entirely dedicate my time to my personal projects. Well, almost entirely, because I also teach prop.

What themes do you explore through your craft?


Botany, plants and nature in general are the main threads of my work. At first, I worked these through light with the idea of nature lightning and invading the space. I adapted this idea of nature invading urban space through different media: with branches, tree trunks, under glass domes… Over the time, whilst still working on these themes, I started making objects in plaster and clay, using molding, casting and sculpting techniques.

“Mixing nature, anatomy and spirituality is my way of communicating the idea that everything is connected.”

What is the message behind your creations?


I wish to bring nature into people’s lives in a poetic way. Remembering that all is nature – our human bodies included – that is what I’d like to convey. For many of my projects, I graft anatomical elements with botanical ones. Mixing nature, anatomy and spirituality is my way of communicating the idea that everything is connected.

You create a lot of ex-voto. Can you explain why?


I reinterpret this object, which is traditionally a gift offered after a wish made in a sacred place. My ex-voto stem from my research on botany and anatomy. I like molding small sculptures representing body parts being invaded by nature. Little by little, the collection broadens. I wish they bring a bit of poetry and reveal the holiness of life.

Where do you find inspiration?


I am very much inspired by naive Art for his connection with mysticism but also for its candid approach. For instance, the tree of life has existed in many cultures throughout time: it is an almost universal symbol that I used in my work. The day of the dead in Mexico has influenced me as well for its colors and joyful aspect.

And, of course, I am inspired by my readings and the exhibitions I see, all of which sharpen my eye and allow me to evolve in my work.

Do you see yourself as an artist or as a craftswoman?


I really feel in between. I am trained as a craftswoman but I present myself as sculptor. My work is not within the realm of contemporary art, or at least, not in the way people usually envision it. It is not very obvious to find a gallery matching my type of work because the difficulty precisely resides in that matter: where do I fit it? I find myself on a tenuous in-between frontier. I think that deep down, I like the idea of not fitting in a box.

What are your plans for the future?


Big changes ahead! I’m moving out near Lyon soon, getting a new workshop and discovering a new region : a new adventure begins. For the last few years, I’ve searched different artistic ways to renew my work, for instance by including fabric and colors into my craft. I experiment new materials : porcelain, metal, wax, paper… It broadens the field of my possibilities and enhanced my creativity! I plan on pursuing these researches and I look forward to being closer to nature for that.

Did you enjoy discovering the craftsman ?

Contact her
· Credits · Texte : Aurélia Monge – Photographies : Cécile Chareyron.
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