Studio visit: Frédérique Lucien

Frédérique Lucien
Frédérique Lucien’s Paris studio

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.

Frédérique Lucien. This recently completed collage comprises carefully cut colored paper, graphite, and colored pencil.

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.

Lucien makes meticulous cut paper studies before she begins the large collages.
Frédérique Lucien
Studio view.
Frédérique Lucien
Studio view.
Detail of the large collage pictured above.
Frédérique Lucien
Lucien’s collages start with the collection and precise observation of small plant forms found on the street.
Frédérique Lucien
Frédérique Lucien. Water color study for plant collage.
Frédérique Lucien
Lucien’s body-part sculptures. Work in process.
Frédérique Lucien
More porcelain body-part sculptures. Work in process.
Frédérique Lucien
Molds for the porcelain sculptures.
Frédérique Lucien
Breasts, knees, ass, and other parts of Lucien’s own body.
La Couleuvre, the space Lucien founded and runs with other artists.

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.

Related posts:
Cy Twombly, emotional content, at Centre Pompidou
Invitations: Miami and Paris
Thinking about Paris: The life of Gustave Moreau

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