Kathy Le Vavasseur: Stratum Super Stratum is on view at Musée de la faïence de Quimper
September 4-19, 2021
The Musée de la faïence de Quimper, France, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. It will be welcoming the sculptor and visual artist Kathy Le Vavasseur for a retrospective exhibition of her work in ceramics.
«Shapes intertwining, joining together and splitting apart.» This is how Kathy Le Vavasseur describes the lively convolutions of her sculptures. Invited by Quimper’s Museum of faience, home of a sharp craft and industrial tradition, the artist introduces a selection of her work related to the arts of fire. Inspired by the heritage of her father, who was a sculptor and designer collaborating with the greatest French crystal manufacturers, Kathy Le Vavasseur is a technician above all, fascinated by clay’s capabilities. Her Art is truly contemporary and creates a dialogue with the Museum’s collections, with a peculiar emphasis on the water element. The Museum’s location in Locmaria, on the Odet river banks, is a reminiscence of Kathy Le Vavasseur’s first love: the Mekong River in Vietnam, which still inspires what the artist calls her vital impulses.
“Stratum Super Stratum” evokes the artist’s primitive intuition: fragmenting the body to reconstitute it again. Kathy Le Vavasseur, through abstract metaphors and with a frequent use of the “Nerikomi” technique, slab built, overlaps layers of individualities. She develops a language in which organic forms of clay take shape to become signs, DNA, transcription as in cell division. At times grainy, velvety, or sandy, her art calls for geology, archaeology, and is a praise for the long assembling of memories in the raw clay. The artist advocates life and proudly states her freedom to sometimes bring textile, photography and installation into her practice, crossing from one shore to another.
In a personal retrospective of some thirty works between 2011-2019, conceived for the “Musée de la faïence de Quimper” 30th anniversary, Kathy Le Vavasseur pays tribute to the collections and the History of this fine material. She works with raw materials with a contemporary view.
“Fascinated by simple forms, broken arches, knots, folds and drapery, she designs small dimension pieces which evoke music-like variations of an almost infinite magnitude, from an initial module proving to be endlessly rich.” Louis Doucet, 2013, Collector, curator, MAC2000- MacParis jury.
About the artist
Born near the banks of the Mekong River in Vietnam, Kathy Le Vavasseur now lives and works between Paris and Quimper.
Her protean work has been marked by her triple culture – French, Italian and Vietnamese – and invokes the question of identity through sculpture, weaving and installations. A graduate of the École Supérieure d’Art Textile Françoise Conte in Paris, she was trained by master ceramists and glassmakers. Clay is her preferred material.
Using the symbolism of fluidity, her work diverts techniques and materials from their primary function, intertwining, deforming and superimposing elements, and playing on relationships between form, material and scale. Shapes break and curve, creating light, elongated structures.
Working from form to subject and from subject to series, she gives movement to clay at the point of contact between air and water, using the nerikomi technique to create layers and playing on the paradox between a fluid form and a dense yet fragile base. A heavy material, for example, might seem as light as air or be twisted to the breaking point.
Her minimalist, organic works tend to avoid any ordinary expression of the body. In such installations as “Translocation,” “Orogeny,” “Neuron” and “Genesis,” the human is evoked through symbols borrowed from science.
Kathy Le Vavasseur’s work brings vital impulses to life through clay and glass. The rippling forms evoke water, while the more structured or organic shapes speak of the origins of life. The former stem from her visual memory, the latter from the depths of her consciousness. Her totem sculptures and wall installations pay tribute to the sacred elements : water, the body, DNA.
02 98 90 12 72
Musée de la Faïence
14, rue Jean-Baptiste Bousquet
Copyright Kathy Le Vavasseur. Photography by Paul-Olivier Doury, Olivier Deschamps, and Jérémy Varoquier