French Artist Vincent: Pursuit of Lacquer in Chongqing



Born in Chongqing’s sister city Toulouse of France, Vincent Cazeneuve, known as Wensen Qi in Chinese, is a contemporary artist dedicated to lacquer (Chinese lacquer or raw lacquer) creation. He settled down in Chongqing in 2009. His works have been exhibited in art institutions both in and outside of China, and some even have been collected by private individuals.


“The foundation of this piece was created from my own bamboo weaving. This artwork was made combining a used gunny bag with lacquer art, and there are even visible mending marks on it...” On April 27, Vincent introduced the pieces exhibited in the “Chongqing Artist Archive—Cazeneuve Vincent “ exhibition to the audience at the Rock Space  of the Yuelai Art Museum.


He speaks fluent Mandarin and occasionally mixes in a few English phrases as well as the Chongqing dialect. At the exhibition, Vincent shared his story of traveling thousands of miles from France to Chongqing in pursuit of lacquer during an interview.


Settling in Chongqing for Lacquer Creation


In 1977, Vincent was born in a village in Toulouse of France. After finishing his academic years in France, he established a studio for antique restoration. Since then, he has developed a deep interest in lacquer. However, French industrial lacquer cannot fit the bill, which drove him to explore the origin of lacquer in Asia.



In 2007, Vincent made a trip to China upon his friend’s invitation and fell in love with lacquer art at first sight in Chengdu. In 2009, Vincent came to Chongqing and he was captivated by the artistic atmosphere of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute (SFAI). As Chongqing also boasts excellent lacquer culture, he soon decided to settle down in Chongqing and opened a studio in Huangjueping where SFAI is located.

Huangjueping nurtures art, Vincent commented. He communicated with SFAI teachers and local artists. It is worth mentioning that he met his wife Xiao Rong who majored in oil painting at SFAI.

Vincent relocated his studio several times from Huangjueping to Geleshan and Hufengshan. In 2021, he moved the studio to Songbai Village , Beiping Township, Chengkou County, where he can get much closer to lacquer.

Exploring the Origin of Lacquer in Chengkou

 “I learned about the Chengkou lacquer art a long time ago. I wanted to establish a studio there, immerse myself in the life of lacquer farmers, and explore the origins of lacquer”, Vincent introduced. By chance, the staff at the Beiping Township Government in Chengkou County saw a documentary about Vincent online and invited him to Chengkou for lacquerware creation based on local industrial development needs. Thus, their friendly cooperation began.

Beiping Township is scenic with a pleasant ecological environment, making it an ideal place for creation. Over the past two years since the studio relocation, Vincent has already immersed himself in the local way of life, learned with lacquer farmers to collect lacquer from lacquer trees, and developed a close relationship with lacquer.

“Collecting lacquer is risky, lonely, yet enjoyable.” Vincent often collects lacquer in Daba Mountain alone. He climbs up the lacquer trees and nails spikes, working all night long until he can collect the lacquer in the morning. As the sun rises, he finds great pleasure in watching the lacquer flow slowly. The gentle chirping of insects and birds also brings him happiness and adds to the peaceful atmosphere around him.

Chengkou lacquer art is an intangible cultural heritage of Chongqing. In recent years, the People’s Government of Chengkou County has focused on the large-scale planting of lacquer trees to promote industrial development and realize rural revitalization. Following Vincent, many young people have been attracted to explore lacquer art in Chengkou County. Vincent believes that traditional art is incredibly valuable and should be protected and passed down. He is passionate about promoting, preserving, and inheriting the lacquer art.

Artistic Rebirth of Ordinary Old Objects

Golden, red, orange... Vincent’s works break with the traditional use of black lacquer and instead express themselves in a more colorful way. Hidden beneath the sleek surface may be old rice bags, bamboo baskets, and bowls that have been given new life and transformed through his lacquer artistry. Vincent’s unique artistic expression lies in his perfect fusion of the old and new, the rough and smooth, and traditional and modern elements.


In his artworks, Vincent fuses antique restoration techniques, traditional lacquer crafts, and local life. The production of a piece of lacquerware involves dozens of procedures. To diversify his works, Vincent has also learned handicraft techniques such as bamboo weaving.

In the future, Vincent hopes to continue studying Chengkou lacquer art, learning more about traditional Chinese culture and handicraft skills, so as to enrich his works both in layers and touch.

Hope to Hold Solo Exhibitions in Chongqing and Toulouse


Toulouse where Vincent was born is France’s fourth-largest city located in the southwest of the country. Chongqing and Toulouse established a sister city relationship in December 1982, marking the beginning of Chongqing’s international-friendly city initiatives.

 “Both Chongqing and Toulouse are cities that I love”, Vincent explained. He once planned to hold a solo exhibition in both cities to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their sister city relationship, but unfortunately, it was canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. Vincent hopes that he will have the opportunity to realize his wish in the future. He will hold a solo exhibition in Paris in September 2023.


Over ten years living in Chongqing, the time has flown by and it feels like it was just yesterday when I first walked on the street at Huangjueping”, Vincent said. He loves the hills and valleys of Chongqing, the city’s inclusiveness and openness, as well as the straightforward and bold character of local residents.

Vincent said that Chongqing and Toulouse are both cities with a long history, developed industries, and beautiful landscapes. They have carried out cultural exchange activities such as mutual exhibitions and art performances. Over the years, French and Chinese students have studied at SFAI in Chongqing and the fine arts academies in Toulouse respectively, and some of them have become artists. Vincent hopes that in the future, there will be more cultural exchanges and urban promotion activities between the two cities to promote mutual understanding between the people.

Photo/The Interviewee and Yuelai Art Museum



Vincent Cazeneuve,中文名文森·漆,来自重庆的友城法国图卢兹,专注于当代大漆(又名天然漆、生漆)创作的艺术家。2009年移居重庆,作品曾在国内外艺术机构展出,并被私人收藏。


























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