Rémi Maillard, lacquer artist
I simply love it when I unexpectedly stumble upon something beautiful, fascinating and inspiring. Approximately 15 mn walk from my parents' house, one can find a pretty majestuous water tower, built in 1865; it had been standing empty since 1940 when, in 1999, it was refurbished by the city council and opened as a contemporary art gallery.
For the whole of September, the gallery is hosting an exhibition of the work of the lacquer artist Rémi Maillard, a former fashion designer now based in Nancay, in the Sologne region of France. There, he has his very own gallery/shop as well as his workshop: ARTSETDECO
Inside the water tower, some of Rémi Maillard's most impressive works adorn the thick stone walls. As soon as you enter, you are confronted by the artist's astonishing work.
There are two sides to Rémi Maillard's work. We first see the result of the artist's work: his artworks - sculptures, large bowls, large decorative panels, screens, triptychs - are among the most beautiful things I have ever seen: they are multi-layered and ornate, shiny, with lavish colours, rich and precious materials; they are incredibly complex works of art, at the same time dense and transparent, delicate and incredibly strong.
The works carry poetry, mystery, imagination, lyricism, and are completely timeless, suspended in mid-air between the real world in which they have been created and another otherwordly universe we can only touch with the tip of our fingers - and our marveled eyes.
A fascinating film is also shown as part of the exhibition; it shows the artist at work, and what work! The video reveals the painstaking and laborious endeavour that is the creation of a work of art made of lacquer. Rémi Maillard is inspired by traditional Asian methods - he has travelled extensively throughout the region - and uses ancestral know-how and expertise.
Lucky you, it is online and you can see it here (it is in French, but you can still follow the process and see some of the works, which makes it all so very much worth it!): REMI MAILLARD L'AME DU LACQUE
Rémi Maillard continues in the path of the celebrated Jean Dunand, who is considered as the greatest lacquer artist of the Art Deco period, and whose son and successor as maître lacqueur he had met.
For the francophones and francophiles among you, here is a more detailed résumé of the artist's biography and inspiration:
Magical and awe-inspiring.
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