Paris in July - Natacha Panot

Paris in July - Natacha Panot

Featuring Natacha Panot

Photography by Gilles Remond

It was during a school trip to the Rodin Museum when Natacha Panot discovered her calling. Margot visits the French sculptor in her Paris studio to discuss her love of clay, texture and volume.

I believe sculpture chose me… that's the way I see it.

Why Sculpture?

I believe sculpture chose me… that's the way I see it. Even at a young age, I never really liked or enjoyed drawing, it was the 3 dimensional, volume projects that thrilled me. I grew up in Saint Cyr L'Ecole and visited the Museum of Rodin on a school trip. I remember staring at the Jeune Fille au Chapeau Fleuri almost on the verge of tears. I had never seen anything so pure, authentic, alive and beautiful. That was the moment I knew what I would be doing. Also, attending The Arts Students League of NYC increased my path in the sculpture field. My time in New Zealand as a lecturer at Massey University made me explore what design is in sculpture, the complex concept of a sculpture.

Marie Freudenreich 2010 fired clay 46x30cm

Describe your work.

Sensitive, Textured, Reflection of our Society

Hunting II 2013 fired clay patina 81x69x21cm

Hunting II 2013 fired clay patina 81x69x21cm

Hunting II 2013 fired clay patina 81x69x21cm

NYC 1999 private collection dry clay and wax 81x30x30cm

Who or what has inspired your work?

The retrospective of Joseph Beuys in 1994 at Centre Pompidou blew my mind. I understood what he meant by the word compression. This word stays with me to this day.

Le Corbusier inspired me after visiting La Villa Savoye. The minimalism and functional ideas and the use of concrete. Just amazing. Also, the Donald Judd Foundation expanded my mind by 360 degrees.

Tell us about your themes

Defining my three themes, Body, Bestiary and the Table, took me some time. These themes allow me to explore. It is an opportunity to dig deep into each subject, push the medium, and be surprised by the result.

I expand on each of my themes by creating new series; it never ends ... that way, it can only grow. Right now, ecology is what drives the theme, Bestiary. As for the Body and the Table, sensitivity is the source of ideas. The evolution of our society influences our sensitivity which I explore and include.

Clay and wax would be my perfect companions if stranded on a deserted island. Clay, I can't stay away from it. As for wax, gosh, I adore the smell! And paper, I love thick papers. I used lots of recycled paper with patterns.

Describe your creative process.

I search for the impossible. I dig deep for what drives me, but it must include the mood of our current society on all levels. I am patient because I know it takes time before a project can come to life. Plus, when I have an idea but not yet the volume in my mind, I go to a museum that relates to the same subject, and then my mind works on the concept. It's a complex stage. Figuring out the material/medium that will be needed, plus using the tools (I love tools and machines ), are the exciting parts; it often gives me goosebumps and an internal giggle.

Dream project?

It would be an outdoor series in different countries of my three themes.



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