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“Love at First Sight” A Sculptor Talking with Bamboo

ARTIST INSIDE 2022 | Laurant Martin “Lo”

“Love at First Sight”
A sculptor who talks with bamboo

Laurent Martin “Lo” has been called a “bamboo sculptor”.
His work is a world of bamboo, for bamboo, and about bamboo.
His life as an artist also began with bamboo.
While working in advertising and studying interior design in Paris,
he first encountered bamboo structures and was immediately fascinated and began to study the material.
“It was love at first sight,” he says.
A strong tree, yet as flexible and light as grass,
bamboo has been an inexhaustible source of art for Lo for more than 20 years.
He still explores bamboo.

Laurent Martin Lo

Your work is reminiscent of the brush strokes of oriental paintings. Can you tell us about your creative process?

My process is, in a nutshell, a dialog with the bamboo through my senses. I don’t sketch beforehand, which means I don’t have an aesthetic in mind. I soak the bamboo stalks in water, soften them, cut them, trim them, and wait for them to dry. The wind, sun, and even moonlight are involved in the process. Depending on the temperature, humidity, and wind, the bamboo stalks change their character. I have a poetic conversation with the bamboo, and through that interaction, I naturally try to create a sense of balance in the space.

Laurant Martin “Lo”, 로랑 마틴 “로”, Mai, 2021, Taiwan smoked Bamboo, fireline braid thread, fishing sinkers, ceramic ball, 135 × 150 × 150 cm

I guess you could say that it’s not the artist who determines the work.

Yes, I explore and observe the bamboo, but I don’t objectify it as a plant. I have to listen and follow its conversation with me, so that I can access its essence. As I work, there is a very specific vibration that I capture, a vibration that emanates from the work itself, that finally brings balance and harmony, and at that point the conversation ends.

Laurant Martin “Lo”, 로랑 마틴 “로”, Mai, 2021, Partial image of the artwork

You’ve described your work as “more like an amulet than a sculpture,” what does that mean?

I liken my work to an amulet because you can feel a positive, intimate energy that cannot be explained by reason and rationality. (In fact, bamboo, which can grow more than a meter a day, is the only plant known to have survived the atomic bombs of World War II and the defoliants of the Vietnam War).

Laurant Martin “Lo”, 로랑 마틴 “로”, ongaku, 2022, Taiwan smoked bamboo, copper & steel base, 71 × 38 × 20 cm

I know you’ve traveled to many countries to study bamboo, including Korea. Did you notice any differences between cultures?

I traveled from India to Laos, from Vietnam to Latin America, from Taiwan to Bali, from Korea to Hong Kong, all countries where bamboo is used as a tool in everyday life. Although each culture was different, I found that there was a very strong spiritual ‘nexus’. I would describe it as a wisdom, a serenity that comes from bamboo. Bamboo culture knows no borders; it is, in a word, multicultural.

Laurent Martin Lo

Interview by Heaseung Kang, published on Kiaf 2022 Catalogue