Mona Oren – Wax sculptor

Île-de-France 1975


The chandler is the craftsman who makes candles. Until the 19th century, candles were a part of daily life as they were the only means to have light in homes. The candle maker works with a mix of animal (beeswax), mineral (paraffin wax) and vegetal wax. Mona Oren is a wax sculptor and an expert of this material.


After studying at Thelma Yellin School in Israel, Mona Oren was graduated from Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2002. In 2006, she has enterred in residency at Fine Arts School of Chiang-Mai (Thailand) through a UNESCO program.


Mona Oren has got to art through her fondness of contact with material, and wax especially. In fact, wax is her « first love » born in the first weeks at Beaux-Arts of Paris. For 30 years, Mona Oren has been creating protean pieces. Her savoir-faire asks to master drawing, photography, video and installation. But, the center of gravity of her know-how remains sculpture. She produces three-dimensional pieces that are subject of scenarios: spatialization, transcription, photographic or video series.


2019 – the Villa Medicis welcomes her in residence.

2018 – laureate of Prix Liliane Bettencourt, Intelligence de la Main – Dialogues.


Research and innovation

Mona Oren has been noticed by high Luxury Houses such as Guerlain, Dior, Chaumet or the Plaza Athénée. She has been collaborating with them for more than 10 years on different projects such as the creation of several decors. Her artworks are showcased in numerous exhibitions, in galleries and museums, in France and abroad. Since January 2020, she has been working at her workshop in Saint-Denis, near Paris.


Mona Oren has a very creative approach. She exploits evocative and formative power of materials and can be compared to a post-minimalist artist. She works on white wax using a single electric burner and a pot. Then, she gives shape to the wax, thanks to the molds she made beforehand with silicone, plaster, resin or latex. Her very specific savoir-faire enables her to obtain an ultra-thin layer of wax measuring only 1 or 2 millimeters.


Will to transmit

There is no initial training for this trade. In fact, the transmission of the savoir-faire is led by the chandlers themselves within their workshops. Only about ten candle factories of artisanal manufacture exist in France.


Mona Oren teaches weekly classes in sculpture and modeling at Ateliers Terre & Feu in Paris. She is also a regular conference speaker for several organizations: ENSBA Paris, Institut Français de la Mode, Maison&Objet, Palais de Tokyo, etc. She hosts one or two-weeks long workshops in wax sculpture and modeling with schools like ESAD Orléans, Thelma Yellin Arts School, ISCID – Toulouse University. In 2020, she trained her first intern.


Fondation Remy Cointreau has enabled Mona Oren to stock up on wax, her raw material, and has provided the necessary equipment for her new workshop to help her in marketing and selling  products.


Steven Leprizé – Cabinetmaker-researcher


Lucile Viaud – Seaweed Glassmaker