Originally from the Loire Valley, trained at the Fine Art School of St Etienne, France, Vivienne Maun followed various pathways in order to be able to devote all of her time to sculpting. Her fascination for the animal world, as well as her interest in Ethology, triggered her inspiration for the creation of her bestiary. It is the facetious and joyful observation of living creatures that provides the daily substance for her creative work. Relentlessly, she scrutinizes nature, dissects it, and transcribes it.
However, her sculptures are also the result of a careful attention given to human nature as well as the study of physiognomy. Considering that the observation of someone’s outer appearance, and especially facial features, gives an indication of his character or personality, Vivienne Maun attempts, through her work, to highlight the intricate similarities between humans and animals. We all can think of those caricatured human/animal couples that resemble each other by their temperament, their gentleness, or their aggressiveness.
The artist gives shape to this animal mirror visual concept with a sensibility and a humor unique to her own style. She mischievously reminds us that man is an animal just like any other!
Vivienne’s bestiary is a genuine remedy against melancholia. As an alternative to wandering around in the African savannah, in order to escape the Parisian crowd, Vivienne sculpts with an extreme attention given to the smallest detail. The creation process begins with no more than chicken wire and a wire cutter… no preliminary sketch is drawn, she much rather prefers to follow her imaginative instinct, or the revived memory of a photograph that once caught her interest. In her mind, proportions become clear; between her hands, the head’s shape becomes tangible. She then slowly applies the papier-mâché, sensually around the wire, layer after layer, like a protective skin offered to her creation.
The result is a bestiary almost true-to-life. But that’s not it! Each one of creations has a name. Zita Von Flouse, the ostrich and her boudoir, Gaston the English bulldog and his cigar cave, Bou-bou the caribou and his snowy antlers, or Melissa the frog who is still longing for a kiss from her prince. A fascinating and delightful world!
It is during the “Maison et Objet” Trade Fair in Paris last January, that the bestiary made its first and highly celebrated appearance. And it is with great pleasure and measured irony that we have seen, at this occasion, some gentlemen looking at Leon the pig with some familiarity… while some ladies seem to find Zita the ostrich much more distinguishable.
To this day, Vivienne continues to explore flea markets and antique shops, and indefatigably hunts, yet without a rifle, for picture frames and old lace that will, one day, provide an elegant backdrop for the creatures yet to be born.
Without a doubt, Vivienne takes us on a journey… far away from our universe.