Contributed by Sharon Butler / Frédérique Lucien and I met during the Bushwick iteration of “Deux Côtés / Two Sides,” a collaborative exhibition organized by Stephanie Theodore and Emilie Ovaere-Corthay, the director of legendary Galerie Jean Fournier. When I was in Paris for the opening, I got a chance to stop by Lucien’s studio in the 11th arrondissement, not far from the Bataclan Theater that was tragically bombed last year. She was working on two distinct bodies of work: large-scale layered collages based on plant forms and life-sized casts of body parts.
Elegant and refined, Lucien’s motifs include the organic and the mineral as well as the human body. Close observation and drawing are key to her work. Regardless of what medium she is using, she focuses on line and incision, fragmentation and detail, scale relationships, and notions of fullness and emptiness. In 2010, she began making delicate porcelain pieces at the fabled ceramics factory in Sèvres, founded in 1756 and designated the Royal Porcelain Manufactory during Louis XV’s reign.
Actively involved in the Paris art community, Lucien also founded La Couleuvre, an artist’s space in a small building north of the city where she and her partners invite curators and artists to develop and present projects. During my visit, they had invited Nopoto, another artist-run organization, to curate a small-works holiday show fundraiser. On one of the nights I was there, a Brazilian chef-photographer made a big family-style dinner for the artists and their friends.
Heartfelt thanks to Frédérique Lucien for sharing her world with me. Despite my atrocious high school French, the artists I met during five days in Paris were warm and welcoming. From the huge salon-style La Couleuvre exhibition, I got a wonderful sense of the work artists are making in their studios. Let’s keep the exchange going in the new year.
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