The Forest’s Essence – Wooden Totems by Alban Lanore

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Alban Lanore is a self-taught French artist who creates wooden sculptures that replicate the diversity of formations of the Amazonian forest and other woodlands over the world. For years, Lanore carved sculptures of the different plants he encountered during his travels. However, recently he has focused on creating geometric abstractions of trees and spiritually-charged wooden monuments connected to nature, such as totems. The artist’s latest body of work, made from found tree trunks, is filled with contrasting textures that further reveal nature’s diversity and breathtaking beauty.

Lanore’s path to sculpture took a curvy route. He first created decorations for attraction parks and, next to his life partner, built a company specialized in plant-based decorations. In 1998, a trip to Gabon changed the artist’s life as he was deeply inspired by the richness of the Amazonian landscape and started to experiment with wood. Following the steps of his friend Frans Krajcberg, a Polish-Brazilian sculptor and activist who created sculptures based on nature, for some time Lenore produced wooden sculptures of plants, roots, and lianas using found materials. Notably, over the years, his organic figurative work has evolved into geometric abstractions of the natural world made with materials coming from the different types of trees, such as oak or Movingui, that he finds on his walks or trips.

For example, the artist’s collection of wooden sculptures titled Totem honors the ancient tradition of these wooden monuments that included symbolic human, animal, and supernatural forms as a means to represent clan membership or a special event. However, in this case, rather than including the figures of powerful animals like eagles, wolves, or grizzly bears, the artist populates his vertical sculptures of diverse formats with geometric shapes and rich volumes that emulate nature’s capricious forms. Interestingly, further evidencing the myriad of formations present in the woodlands, some of the pieces from this collection have a delicate finish while others have rough surfaces or appear to be charred. All in all, the most important thing for this artist is to capture the essence or spirit of the forest and he certainly succeeds in doing so.

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Written by Constanza Ontiveros