At the age of 22, the artist departed from his homeland to explore Europe. A stranger in a strange land, his travels through Nantes resulted in a lasting encounter with an older lady who was native to that French city. Unable to pronounce the young man’s one-syllable nickname, which meant luck, fortune, and benevolence, she suggested a new moniker with similar meanings: Clémentine. Made into its masculine form and formalized with the English honorific, typically stylized in all lowercase letters, this name would become the public and private identity of the man, not a mere alias or pseudonym. He would, literally, become mr clement.

A Brief History of mr clement

Before this, while still attending the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, the soon-to-be mr clement abandoned his education’s theatre direction and returned to his youthful passion for illustration. Foregoing the complex, Moebius-tinged style of his teenage years, he focused on finding his own wholly original aesthetic. Masked underneath simple line formations, the deeply expressive Lapin character emerged, its rabbit-like shape drawn by the shy artist every day in an attempt to woo a girl at school. And as this creation grew, it would become the core for an ongoing series of Lapin World Tour exhibits, taking the artist and his work not only to his native Hong Kong but also to Paris, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, and many other locales.

While the Lapin character became known early on in his Astrolapin guise, the space suit adored creature occasionally exploring the unknown with a map in his hand, mr clement would expose the art toy world at large to his Common Lapin in 2005. Hand-cast in resin, this edition of roughly 4-inch tall pieces would be followed, after a brief sculptural exploration of his Mr Yeah Kou character’s world, by a factory-produced vinyl versions of the rabbit creation, such as 2008’s Petit Lapin and 2009’s Petit Astrolapin. Having evolved through self-published comics without a fixed identity, mr clement’s characters were like actors undertaking different roles, seamlessly shifting from a letter-wielding deliveryman here to a knife-grasping murderer there, appearances reflected in the various art toy renditions. And while this medium proved popular with the artist’s connoisseurs, mr clement bid farewell to issuing vinyl-cast editions with 2016’s Astrolapin: Full Circle, though he proclaimed at the time that this was far from the end of the Lapin form…

mr clement’s Porcelain Sculptures, Season I

Nice To Meet You

Reflecting mr clement’s own purported sense of isolation and loneliness, Lapin sculptural depictions frequently are accompanied by objects that provide the sense of being disconnected from the world around them: maps indicating unfamiliarness with their surroundings, knives to keep others at a distance, and sealed letters hinting at the hope of finding a friend. In contrast to this, the first of four designs in the artist’s new Porcelain Sculptures, Season I series is titled Nice To Meet You, the extended arm welcoming a hearty handshake from those it encounters. In fact, the immaculately crafted human hand emerging from the Lapin suit can be easily viewed as the artist’s own, a tribute to the connectivity formed between creator and collector through their shared love of the shape.

I Don’t Care

The second of these roughly 11⅖-inches tall designs is I Don’t Care, the Lapin sticking its tongue outward to playfully avoid meaningful contact. Positioned in an aloof manner, hands embraced behind its back with one foot tilted awkwardly upward, everything about this edition’s form emphasizes an “I Don’t Care” attitude. And yet there seems an unspoken challenge in its “oh shucks” body language, almost a hope that one will peer past its taunting appearance and see the loveable beast within.

I Hide Nothing

With all these glazed porcelain editions handmade by mr clement at his Lapin Factory visual art production house, these sculptural progenies are the result of overcoming countless failures in the creation process. Showing pride in the completely hand-crafted nature of his “children”, mr clement’s I Hide Nothing design splays open its chest, allowing examination of its finely formed interior. Serving a secondary, conceptual purpose of viscerally depicting its title, the piece’s in this edition are indeed true to their name: between their blank stare and innards literally being nothing, these Lapin renditions are a mere shell that must be accepted at face value.

Inner Beauty

The fourth and final form in Porcelain Sculptures, Season I is titled Inner Beauty, a revisiting of a concept employed by mr clement starting with his Petit Lapin Museum 2012 – Please Forget Me variations. While the artist’s depiction of a skull underneath the Lapin mask can be viewed simply as a memento mori, a tribute to mankind’s transient existence, it can similarly be seen as a symbolic representation of the artist himself, a statement akin to “this is what I’ve done, please don’t forget me when I’m gone”. Either way, as these are cast in a ceramic material that is estimated to survive 2000 years or more, these would be a fitting and enduring testament to the concept.

Click Here to Acquire mr clement’s Porcelain Sculptures, each of which is issued in an edition of 50 (+5 artist proof) pieces with signed & numbered certificate of authenticity.

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