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Portrait | Courtesy of Adeline de Monseignat/Ronchini Gallery
Portrait | Courtesy of Adeline de Monseignat/Ronchini Gallery
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Interview With The Enigmatic Sculptor Adeline de Monseignat

Picture of Isabelle Pitman
Updated: 21 December 2016
Adeline de Monseignat is a Dutch-Monegasque artist who lives and works in London. Her sculptural, installation-based and paper work comes from her interest in the uncanny, the contact, and the origin. As an artist she aims to make the familiar strange and retain tensions between the threatening and the safe, the animate and inanimate, all while remaining on the threshold between the known and the strange. The young artist has already received many accolades and exhibited her work all over the globe. Culture Trip spoke to Adeline to find out about the idea behind her work and the success of her artistic career.

CT: Tell us about the first moment you knew you wanted to be an artist. Were you aware from an early age that this is the path you would lead?

AM: I don’t honestly remember ever not feeling like one. As a child, the word ‘artist’ may seem too grand to fit what you do, but in reality you already create. The rest just follows organically and before you even know it, it is others who start calling you an artist.

CT: How would you describe your work to people that view your art for the first time?

AM: My work is an attempt to make the inanimate trigger emotional responses. It is tactile yet distant, seductive yet disconcerting, familiar yet alien, absurd yet sensible, inanimate yet ‘alive’.

CT: You say that your work is motivated by ideas of The Uncanny, The Origin and The Contact. Can you expand on the inspiration behind these influences?

AM: Since I’m interested in life within the inanimate, these are my three main vehicles of research:

The Uncanny: the ghostly, the creepy, the unfamiliar – is my way of ‘testing life’

The Origin: roots, beginnings, etymologies – is a means to question the ‘coming to life’

The Contact: interaction, the senses – enables the understanding behind ‘feeling alive’.

CT: You call your works ‘creaptures’. Can you tell us a little more about this and why you think creaptures ‘need you in order to stay alive’?

AM: Just like any living being, my creaptures (half-creature, half-sculpture) need the interaction with other living beings in order to have a meaning. They need to ‘live’ in someone’s mind, if not they’d lose all purpose and ‘die’.

In the Flesh II, 2015, Marble | Courtesy of Adeline de Monseignat/Ronchini Gallery
In the Flesh II, 2015, Marble | Courtesy of Adeline de Monseignat/Ronchini Gallery

CT: Do you have a favourite series from your oeuvre?

AM: The last one, always.

CT: What is your dream project?

AM: The next one, always. It enables you to keep focus and grow steadily rather than burn bridges.

CT: You work with a number of different mediums; do you have a favourite?

AM: My favourite medium is always the one I chose to use in the moment, according to what is it I need to say.

CT: Have you had any artistic disappointments in your career? If so, how did you fight them?

AM: Of course, many. You fight them by carrying on, trying over and over again, until it succeeds.

CT: You have also received many accolades – are these awards and recognitions important to you and you work?

AM: They are, because they often open new doors and enable me to push my practice even further.

CT: What is the best piece of creative advice you have ever received? Who was it from?

AM: ‘Do what you love to do,’ Christo told me once. He added, ‘And finding out what that is, is already in itself the hardest thing you could possibly try to do.’ It’s simple but essential – making for one’s own passion of it, not for people pleasing.

CT: If you could sit down and have a meal with one artist in the world, who would it be?

AM: Please bring Louise Bourgeois back to life!

CT: Do you consider a country’s art/galleries when you select your travel destinations? If you could take an artistic tour across one country in the world, where would you go?

AM: We really can’t complain about the UK. But I think it would have to be the US. However, my absolute favourite art spot in the world is in Brazil: Inhotim – I could go back in a heartbeat.

CT: What are you reading or watching at the moment?

AM: Moravia’s Il Disprezzo – trying to keep my Italian up! It’s also research in relation to the female collective ‘Modern Penelopes’, an initiative by curators Alix Janta and Lauren Jones, which I’m part of, that analyses the way Ulysses’ Penelope has been portrayed across time and various art forms, and how it relates to us as female artists.

CT: Henry Miller wrote 11 work schedule commandments in his book, Henry Miller on Writing. Number 7 is ‘Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.’ Do you have a particular morning routine or way of working which helps you to create?

AM: Traveling unlocks my brain, that is, the actual physical passive act of being in a transitional space like a plane, a bus, a car – it works wonders.