September 30, 2022

François Werlen, Jardin de sculptures / Sculpture garden

images are screenprints from the video below, 
re-use licensed under Creative Commons

The image above shows wooden animal sculptures as present in a garden in Montauban, a municipality of some 61,000 inhabitants in the Tarn-et-Garonne department in the Occitan region of France.

This garden with its variety of mainly wooden sculptures of animals is a  creation of François Werlen. 

 Life and works

Werlen was born in Montauban in the early 1950s. The information about his life available on the internet focuses mainly on his development as a painter. 

Self-taught, Werlen started painting in 1972, when he was in his early twenties. In reviews his work was classified as art singulier (singular art), a designation mainly used for non-professional artists active in the south of France. His work has also been characterized as halfway between folk art and art brut 

The paintings he created over the past forty years have a poetic appearance and testify to a great love for color. His themes mainly include animals and human characters. As a material to be painted, he not only uses canvas, but also paper, wood and metal.

About his activities as a painter he has said
Ma peinture, c’est de l’expression, ce n’est pas qu’un loisir, c’est aussi un besoin de le faire, même si cela reste un plaisir (My painting is about expression, it's not just a hobby, it's also a need to do it, even if it remains a pleasure.

In recent years, Werlen's work has been exhibited in galleries in and around Montauban.

Werlen's garden with wooden sculptures

In the in general rather short reviews in newspapers of Werlen's exhibitions, there are often brief references to the garden with wooden statues created by the artist, most likely the garden of the house where Werlen lives. The article by Gregory Pamadou, mentioned in the documentation, gives the most information.

The sculptures are made from raw recycled materials, mainly wood, but also iron, materials that are given a second life through Werlen's processing.

As in his paintings, his sculptures mainly depict animals and human characters.

The images of the wooden sculptures show that Werlen starts from the form he finds in the piece of wood he is going to use, evoking the nature of the person or animal by adding other wooden elements and applying colours, eyes or other distinguishing features,

The landscaping of the garden is so lush that the sculptures occupy almost a modest position in the entire entourage, a modesty that seems characteristic of this art environment, because there is no information in the local press about the origin, nature and location of Werlen's sculpture garden.

Fortunately, in 2020 a video was recorded and published.

* Article (December 2014) by Gregory Pamadou about Werlen and his artistic work

* Video (2020, YouTube, 5'40") by Nonoko Home Studio

François Werlen
Sculpture garden
location unknown
Montauban, dept Tarn-et-Garonne, region Occitan, France. 

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