Laurent Le Deunff (born 1977 in Talence, France, lives and works in Bordeaux) works principally with materials drawn from the world of nature. His favoured medium is wood, in which he has produced sculptures so perfectly finished that in certain cases they fall somewhere between art objects, manufactured goods and hand crafted works. The artist has no hesitation in confusing the issue still further, playing on his craftsmanship and the "hand made" aspect of his work, which he pushes to the limit by producing oeuvres made from nail clippings (Crâne
, 2002-2003) or sculpted animal teeth (Autoportrait
, 2003) that could easily be categorised as being related to art brut
. For Laurent Le Deunff, his choice of material leads naturally to the object created (a bone in alabaster, a club made from stripped down wood). His work is inspired to a great extent by subjects associated with nature (campfires, animals, tents, caves), which remains the principal theme of his artistic research as opposed to the proliferation of forms and materials emerging from our post-industrial society. The accessibility of Laurent Le Deunff's work however, conceals the aesthetic issues at the heart of his sculpture and it would be a great mistake to see them as simply popular themes that have been reworked to current tastes. On the contrary, reading his work is a much more complex matter. The subjects of the artist's work and the techniques he has developed - essentially straight carving but also modelling (both used throughout the history of sculpture) affirm the absence of any formal hierarchy or category beyond the concept of high or low art, the questioning of which is at the heart of contemporary creativity. It would be rather easy to speak of a "return to nature" in common with a number of other artists and especially certain sculptors, but Laurent Le Deunff's work shows his attachment to sheltered world of the forest, which acts as a setting for his work and the cultivation of his own personal sphere.
Valérie Da Costa