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/ Published on Sunday, 31 January 2016
A new collection of Art Marquetry by Yannick Chastang
A new collection of Art Marquetry by Yannick Chastang

The Society is delighted to announce the opening of an exhibition by Council Member Yannick Chastang


Featured in A City without a Song

London, 6th February to 27th February 2016

Yannick Chastang invites you to join him at the exhibition Opening on 

6th February 2-7pm

Averard Hotel, W2 3LH


Yannick Chastang is a leading exponent of the intricate art of marquetry. He trained in Paris, initially at the prestigious Ecole Boulle, learning from master craftsman whose knowledge has been handed down unchanged from generation to generation since the late seventeenth century. He works in traditional, luxurious materials and using techniques that have endured throughout time.

Chastang challenges our traditional views about the place and quality of antiques and collectors in modern society. His exhibition asks whether the disposable items of today really represent value for money and are the best use of our natural resources. What is the environmental impact of the plastics we so readily use today, the fuels and energy involved in manufacture, related pollutants and the realities of disposal?  Is there room for meticulous, quality workmanship and aspiration to the highest standards of human achievement in a world driven by novelty and economy?

This new collection explores man’s connection with the past through decorative arts. Juxtaposing the spare, minimal and functional designs of today against the lavish, extravagant styles of a former age, Yannick Chastang uncovers the shadows of the past that lie behind the evolvement of all today’s modern pieces. Within every object is an empreinte of a former time that has cast a shadow into the future. The shadowed designs may be aesthetically redundant but they are the moulds and inspiration for all modern designers who have, often unawares, absorbed these patterns of the past and created new designs based upon them.

Marquetry is an ancient art, time consuming and expensive to produce and, as such, reserved for the social and financial elite. In today’s photographic world it has lost its place and value and become a redundant form of figurative art. Mass production of furniture, and the popularity and success of international conglomerates like Ikea, has enabled widespread and general access to new designs and functional furniture. Thanks to mass production everyone can now afford furniture however, at the same time, the result is a unification of art and style with little room for individuality.  Marquetry by contrast is exclusive, not only because of the cost, but because each hand-cut piece is inevitably unique. A factory can make a pine chair by machine in only minutes, and can box and sell it for only £15. In contrast, the marquetry shadow has been laboriously cut and is made from ebony, not only one of the most luxurious and rarest materials of the past, favoured by kings and the rich, but also one of the hardest woods to work with and to process.

EmpreinteDictionary definition: a footprint or (geologically) a fossilised footprint left of an extinct species or (sculpture) a mould.

Yannick Chastang’s shadows represent decorative art production of the past and pay homage to their role as empreintes of all today’s design and manufacture. At the same time, they evince nostalgia and regret for what we may have lost.

A City Without a Song at the Averard Hotel (Edition 2), Galleries 11 & 12, 10 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3LH. This exhibition created by Studiocur/art features works by Yannick Chastang, Ken Sortais, Nika Neelova, Raphael Barontini and Taisuké Mohri.

6th February to 27th February 2016

Opening times: Thursday to Sundays 12-6pm


For further information:

Yannick Chastang 07739 883630

Karina el Helou


Wall panel (1.2m x 90cm). Executed in ebony (from managed sources) on a background of sycamore. Shadow of an 18th century gilt wood chandelier produced courtesy of Waddesdon Manor.

This work investigates our hankering and nostalgia for the past versus today’s needs for the practical and cost-efficient. It is a contrast of modern design and traditional shapes, a dramatic rendering of past and present. Within a simple light fitting is a plethora of history and wealth of design and creativity that has evolved into a simple, minimalist shape; a blueprint of style now streamlined and restrained. The work also references technological advancement showing how light from a myriad of candles can now be replicated by one small light bulb.

Cut by hand, and incorporating over 50 hours of craftsmanship, the panel sets its own standards of painstaking skill and artistry, using traditional methods and materials. 



Floor panel (3m x 1.10m – chair 80cm tall). Executed in ebony (from managed sources) and white oak. Shadow produced courtesy of Waddesdon Manor of a gilt wood and cane chair, c 1880.

This chair ensemble examines issues of affordability, accessibility and practicality versus quality and durability.  Are the historical styles passé and old-fashioned or have we compromised style and longevity to fulfil a frenetic desire for change. What is the real price of cheap, affordable furniture? Every basic, plain chair represents centuries of progress in terms of chair design and choices about style, comfort and application. Within the simple lines of the present are a history of extravagance and invention.

There are over 1,300 separate pieces in this marquetry, all cut by hand then assembled together. Involving over 150 hours of work, this piece represents a triumph of traditional craftsmanship set into a modern design.

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