Art-Trope Artist and sculptor Minh Châu tells us her story:
Sculpting is the continuation of several years of experiences that made it self-evident as a media. I am actually starting my experience as a sculptor. Ever since I was a teenager, I have been keen on creation, particularly when it involved textiles. Designing clothes quickly came as self-evident. Following up my graduation from la Martinière Terreaux in Lyon, I first worked for Claude Bauer, a fashion company based in the Vosges and specialized in prêt-à-porter. After the termination of that experience I became a consultant and worked with photographers (Gabriela Morawetz for her performance at the Biwako Bienale in Japan you can watch on youtube at “Gabriela Morawetz continuum”, Pascaline Dargant for her “Cinderella” series) to make prototypes for their video performances and photo shoots. I then realized I got to a point in my life where designing clothes no longer satisfied me. When I had my first daughter, the idea of creating bodies came to me. When I think about it, the body is the material I have always been working on as a fashion designer. This is the reason why in my way of sculpting, I essentially deal with bodies, expressions and poses.
Her sphere of expression
I use papier-mâché to model tall and very thin bodies. My first sculpture was a 6 feet tall lopsided woman, standing still, arms crossed in her back, in a waiting posture. The aim was to represent my daughter’s body who was striking the pose for me, as another human being was growing inside me. Paper soon became self-evident as my main material. All kinds of qualities can be found in paper: flexibility, malleability but also rigidity and hardness. Therefore I always start working on a dry surface, on a pedestal that fashion stores use to put up their mannequins. From then I build on my skeleton with wooden sticks and wire, circling around the support. Afterwards I glue the paper covered of wall paper paste to shape my sculpture along a certain line, following the same process step by step. In fashion drawings there is always verticality that starts from the head and goes to the malleolus of our standing foot which forms a line that has to stay straight. The support is my verticality, and the sculpture circles around it. It gives my sculpture a rough and creased aspect, like a primal skin. My inspiration usually comes from daily contemplations, observing people’s expressions and poses around me. Faces’ expressions are also inspirational to me, especially those with marked features like in the photographic portraits of Artist Lee Jeffries. Life’s marks create the matter. Among the Artists that inspire me, there are also Rodin, Giacometti, Aron Demetz who works with charcoals and Soulages.
As a fashion designer, research on materials and textures never stopped. My sculptures are currently black or white, but I am thinking about how I could dress them up and write their story. To that end, I am considering several techniques such as tattoo Art. I would start with Japanese inspired tattoos because of their use of symbols from the fauna and flora, of natural elements and their meanings, to dress that primal skin of my sculpture. Japanese tattoos gave a meaning to the people they covered. The marks of time on the skin interest me. I use paper to react the richness of the skin’s textures. To me, people no longer pay attention to what goes on around them. To create matter is to invite people to pay attention to details and to the marks of time. Because everything is right here under our nose.
Exhibiting my work is new to me and I must say it is quite harrowing. The idea is to reveal myself even though I am quite reserved. It is thanks to my friend’s mother who is an Artist that I sent my application to Art-Capital which hosts under the Grand Palais’ glass dome in Paris, more than 2000 confirmed or emerging Artists from all countries and backgrounds. Art-Capital takes place in February and I did send my application with pictures of my work attached. To my greatest joy, I have been selected and therefore my artistic adventure continues since this first exhibition is to take place in February 2018.
The Artist and Art-Trope
I contacted Art-Trope to support me in my artistic statement. Getting an objective opinion on my work from outside is precious to me. Art-Trope is what all Artists have been waiting for to create the visibility we lack. If we do not master the way of introducing our work, we quickly come to a dead end. Therefore, it gives me the opportunity keep on developing my artistic career stress-free especially given the fact that I am far from being the only one on the Fine Arts market. Art-Trope gives a boost to my first steps in this market, which is something that I would have never been able to do on my own. Where should we go? Who should we get in touch with? What strategy should we implement? Virginie, as both an Artist and Art-Trope’s Founder, knew how to guide me through the Fine Arts market. My work’s visibility is currently my main concern. Without Art-Trope, I would have never been able to get the same results, and above all, I would have never been able to keep tracking it on the long-term. It reassures me, giving me the ability to apprehend my future serenely. In addition, the idea of personalized support is essential to me both personally and professionally. I can count on Art-Trope to answer my needs as they come, because its team always finds tailored solutions for low fees.
See Minh Châu’s Art-Trope profile here.
Read our article about Art-Trope’s new partner Didier Chambaretaud here.