Published on February 14th, 2018 | by Laurence de Valmy1
Anne de Villemejane’s sculptures invite us to a poetic and textural journey
Anne de Villemejane takes her viewers into her poetic world peopled with her imaginary elongated feminine sculptures made in bronze, cement, acrylic or crystal.
She started her artistic path with photography, then painting and came to sculpture to pursue her attraction for the work of the texture. Curious about the different techniques available and searching for new means of expression, she came to master the complexities of several making processes.
Her work is shown in many galleries and art fairs internationally and she was solicited by the NYC “In French With English Subtitles” film festival to design their audience award. On top of being an artist, she created with success art events in order to promote other artists such as « NY art collective » « Westchester Open Studios » and « New York open studios”.
Her advice: life is short. Just embrace it and remain curious.
How did you become a sculptor?
Always drawn to the Art world, I was taking painting lessons in an artist private studio during my teenage years. But my formal education happened to be in marketing and advertising, which resulted in the first 15 years of my career spent at L’Oreal and Chanel. In 2000, I moved from London to Boston and took on painting again. I quickly showed my new work at the Art expo in NYC and met an Italian artist and Portofino art dealer, Lorenzo Cascio, who became my mentor. Noting the 3 dimensional aspect of my work, he influenced my to take on sculpture. I started then to take formal classes in all technical aspects of sculpture (mold making/welding/bronze casting) at Massachusetts College of Art and the Museum School of Boston.
I enjoy creating poetic sculptures from raw, sometimes industrial materials. Texture is key to my work. I like to think that every time you look at them you experience a “textural journey”. The feminine aspect of my work came naturally to me, without much planning. It is only when the Lebanese newspaper L’Orient le Jour noticed, in its article, that 2 matadors were lost in a feminine world, that I realized they were right: I am very inspired by the sensitivity and delicacy of the feminine world. These women are depicted from a feminine perspective, which make them strong but fragile and peaceful at the same time.
Who are your favorite artists or influencers?
I developed a natural liking for African Art, following many trips to African countries. I later on discovered Etruscan art, through visits to the Louvre museum. More than the expression, I was attracted by the distortion and the slight abstraction of the forms. I cannot hide my interest in Giacometti’s work. He also was influenced by African and oceanic art in his lifetime. I like the distortions of his figures. His reference to the real, with this slight abstraction, makes his sculptures so modern. The subtlety of gestures: the tilt of a head, the lean of a torso, reveals the whole meaning of the artwork. Standing still and although almost dematerialized, his figures feel deeply rooted. But there can be a dark side to Giacometti’s work: I qualify my work to be introspective or melancholic rather than dark.
Much has to be learned from one’s surrounding world. I believe the secret is in the art of seeing and not just looking. The world in itself is rich for all kinds of inspiration. Transpositions can be made. In a table, I see a structure for a bust sculpture; in a nail, I see its texture. I sometimes make a quick drawing or a rough Photoshop rendering of a creative concept. I contemplate it for a while before I decide to go ahead or not with that project. I sometimes think of a concept, which is a technological challenge. It then requires some investigation, new techniques and sometimes, new craftsmanship. As an example, when I went to the MET in 2011 for the Alexander Mac Queen “savage beauty” exhibition, I stopped and stared for a long time at the hologram of Kate Moss dancing as a ghost in a wedding dress. This triggered the idea to dematerialize my work. My bronze and cement sculptures are so earthy and grounded. I wanted to express in my work this poetic and ethereal feeling that I experienced looking at the ghostly appearance of Kate Moss. This resulted in Imprint, the acrylic sculpture that I first exhibited in 2014. It is a completely see- through sculpture.
Do you have an anecdote that you’d like to share?
When I very boldly joined a group of established artists in 2000 to exhibit my first bull paintings at the Javits Center in NYC, some people told me I was not experienced enough. But I still went, sold my paintings and met Lorenzo Cascio, which clearly influenced the rest of my life. My advice: life is short. Just embrace it. And be open to new encounters and opportunities. And most of all: remain curious.
What is the question you’d like to be asked? Why poetic artwork is still important in art world featuring so many skulls and guns (:
What is your dream project? A sculpture for Central park
What are your projects for the coming months?
I am collaborating with a number of Art Galleries, of which Vivendi gallery in Paris, M Gallery in Colorado or Michèle Mariaud and Artemisia in New York. I am also active in organizing art events in order to promote other artists. I have created a few collectives such as « NY art collective » « New York open studios » and Westchester Open Studios successfully launched with over 400 visitors over the course of 2 days. I now need to refocus on creation with a free mind.