ILE-DE-FRANCE – 45 years old
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 has a unique way to work this material.
Mona Oren graduated from l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2002, after studying art at Thelma Yellin School in Israel. In 2006, she becomes an UNESCO artist in residence for the Fine Arts School of Chiang-Mai, Thailand.
Wax is her « first love », a love born in her very first weeks at the Beaux-Arts. For twenty years, Mona has been creating protean pieces which regularly convene drawing, photography, video and installation but whose center of gravity remains sculpture. Getting to art through her fondness of contact with materials, volumes and surface, she produces three-dimensional pieces, which then are subject to a situation scenario: spatialization, transcription, photographic or video series.
In 2018, she is the laureate of Prix Liliane Bettencourt, Intelligence de la Main – Dialogues.
Then in 2019, the Villa Medicis welcomes her in residence.
Mona’s work earned her to be noticed by high Luxury Houses such as Guerlain, Dior, Chaumet or the Plaza Athénée. She’s now been collaborating with them for more than ten years on different projects and the creation of several decors. Her artworks are showcased in numerous exhibitions, in galleries and museums, in France and abroad.
Since January 2020, she’s been working at her workshop in Saint-Denis, near Paris.
Mona Oren’s very creative approach, which exploits the evocative and formative power of materials, can be compared to a post-minimalist practice. She works on white wax using a single electric burner and a pot and then gives it shape thanks to the molds she made beforehand with silicone, plaster, resin or latex, etc. Her very specific savoir-faire enables her to obtain an ultra-thin layer of wax of only 1 or 2 millimeters.
There is no initial training for this trade, 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 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.
She trained her first intern this summer 2020.
The Fondation Remy Cointreau enables Mona to stock up on wax, her raw material, and provides her new workshop with the necessary equipment to help her in marketing and selling her products.
Listen to Mona Oren talk about her exceptional savoir-faire: