Wicked Flowers is Clémence van Lunen’s first solo exhibition at Galerie Alice Mogabgab in Beirut. Our collaboration with the artist, initiated during Art Paris Art Fair in 2013 with the exhibition Nature-Culture, continued the same year at the Beirut gallery, with La Gloire du Végétal curated by art historian Gilbert Lascault; then in 2015 with the exhibition Live Still Life! curated by the philosopher and art critic Yves Michaud, and now in 2017 with the acquisition and exhibition of the Wicked Flowers!
From a mass of stoneware clay, the colour of light skin, Clémence van Lunen sculpts large flower pots with powerful voluptuous forms, resembling anthropoids. These vases-cum-bodies are partially covered with brightly coloured enamels before being fired at a very high temperature. Onto her floral compositions the artist hastily adds hues of shiny pink, green, lilac and blue, highlighting the curve of a hip, exposing patches of the clay’s striking nudity, elsewhere creating the effect of happy splashes or vigorous flows of spring sap. Mellow colours and intense vitality for such ‘diabolic’ and ‘naughty’ potted flowers!
Since their creation between 2012 and 2014, these sculptures have travelled extensively across Europe. Wherever they have been exhibited, they have charmed their audience: Musée Royal de 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), La Maison Rouge (Paris 2016), Hotel de Ville des Baux-de-Provence (2016) and the Musée National des Arts Décoratifs (Paris 2016).
Clémence van Lunen was born in Brussels in 1959, she lives and works in France. From 1979 to 1984, she studied with sculptor Michel Smolders at the Ecole Supérieure d’Arts Plastiques in Brussels, and later with sculptor Etienne Martin at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts in Paris. Having used wood as support in her early work, she later turns to ceramics to take her sculpture to another level. After various residencies in Spain (research scholarship at the Casa Vélasquez from 1991 to 1993), in France (Aux Rairies / Montrieux in 2004), and in China, where she journeys regularly between 2004 and 2009 to work with Master Liu in Jingdezhen, Clémence van Lunen increases her experience gain and pratices many varied techniques within the art of ceramics. In 2006, she is invited by the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres to produce two series of works in bisquit porcelaine, Dragon dans les nuages, and a table centerpiece Floating Flowers. The artist develops her themes in series entitled Rocailles, Doodles, Vagues, Gothic… In 2012, the sculptor begins the production of an ambitious series of large flower vases: Wicked Flowers, Tang Family and Brick Flowers.
Clémence van Lunen regularly exhibits in France and Belgium, but also in Great Britain, in Russia, in Korea, in China and in Hong Kong. Since 2007, she teaches sculpture at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-arts de Nancy.
Presently, the artist is working on two large fountains, also entitled Wicked Flowers, commissioned by the city of Bordeaux.