I find that with normal sculpture materials such as wood, bronze or marble, what you see is what you get; different times of day and surroundings do not influence the sculpture much. My vision is to create a sculpture that interacts with light in a dynamic way
Louis Chanu has had a passion and curiosity for sculpting and experimenting with different mediums since he was a child. Growing up surrounded by nature in Swaziland and Rustenburg meant he could be creative and learn about patterns, rhythms and different materials that he was immersed in, learning lessons that only nature can teach us.
About the artistLouis Chanu
Louis’ studio is on a country property in Grabouw, and he lives in Strand, Western Cape with his wife and three children. His other passion is flying, and he has been flying paragliders and paramotors for the past 15 years, and has built three 2-seater aircraft; the latest one being a bushplane called a “Savannah”. He has flown extensively around Southern Africa and Namibia with his home-built planes.
The sculptor, Louis Chanu has had a passion for sculpting since he was a child. He has an incredible ability to transform any material into 3-dimensionality, be it wax, clay or new materials, which he is constantly investigating. He is also extremely versatile in his subject matter, having sculpted realistic figures, and at the same time abstract and organic shapes. His sculptures have an emotional quality that give his bronzes life and energy.
Louis started a garden sculpture business "Chanu Creations" in 1994, and although this was originally his “bread and butter” business, it financially enabled him to pursue his passion of making original sculptures in wax and transforming them into bronze, where he could solely sculpt the subject matter that he loves. Louis started sculpting seriously in 1989; where he concentrated on two themes: the first being "People of Africa", each of the sculptures in this collection telling a different story of Africa in present time. The second collection- a series of bronzes depicting “Women of our Time”,each one depicting women in their various roles in society.
In 2012/13, Louis developed an exciting and extremely innovative nickel/bronze plating technique which enabled him to infuse light and a transitory quality to his bronzes. This technique was showcased in his solo exhibition at The Marine Hotel in Hermanus at the end of 2015. With this accent on reflection/light; Louis started to incorporate LED lighting into his sculptures, and came up with the innovative Steel and Stainless Steel Illuminated Sculptures (ISS). These have been a huge success as they transcend the line between Sculpture and functional Art. They are beautifully displayed not only in galleries; but in outside gardens around the country and around the world.
With regards to a brief history, 2007 was a very successful year for Louis in terms of recognition of his bronze works, and culminated in the Captains Golf Day Charity Auction at Arabella where four of his pieces were sold for record prices. Louis' bronzes alone managed to raise R65 000 for this charity day, which was a record amount raised for this charity.
2008 saw Louis featured as the guest artist at the opening of the prestigious Kanonkop Wine Estate Art Gallery, and his sculptures once again raised a large amount at the Arabella Golf Day Charity Auction. In January 2009, after acquiring one of Louis’ sculptures, Richard Branson phoned Louis to tell him how much he loves his sculpture “Virtual Reality”.
2010 brought the world cup to South Africa, and Louis’ bronze “Life Size Forgotten Games” was bought by the Dept. of Arts and Culture and displayed at the match draw evening held in Cape Town at the CTICC. Louis' works have become increasingly popular, and are being sought after not only in South Africa, but also in Europe.
2011 saw the launch of Louis’ new “Aviation Art” at the exclusive EBACE in Switzerland; receiving an extremely positive response.
2013 Louis developed the innovative technique of incorporating nickel and bronze into his sculptures; a first for bronze sculpture. After extensive R&D, these were successfully exhibited at a solo exhibition “Reflections” in Hermanus in December 2015; and exhibited in Germany in 2017.
2016 saw Louis doing R&D for his new range of work; the innovative “Illuminated Steel Sculptures”; which were then followed by “Illuminated Stainless Steel Sculptures”. These were showcased at a solo exhibition at Wasserburg/Bodensee in Germany in August 2017; and a larger range of these exhibited at Youngblood Gallery in Cape Town in November 2018.
2019/21 Louis’ restless mind and continuing fascination with light and the transient nature of objects under different light conditions have led him to experimenting with transparent/transluscent sculpture. After many years of research and experimentation; he has released his range of plant carbon resin (PCR) sculptures. The medium is perfect for allowing light to filter through while at the same time reflecting the ever-changing surroundings. This creates an ongoing dynamic interplay between the sculpture and its’environment, each reflecting a change in the other, as the sculpture has become an integral part of the scene. These are being released gradually and will be exhibited in 2021.
Louis ChanuStargazerPlant Carbon Resin Epoxy1650 x 720 x 500 mm
Weight 80kgEdition of 8
Louis has always had a fascination with the transient nature of light; and the reflective aspect particularly. When he started to feel restless and limited by bronze; he started experimenting with nickel-plating; which allowed for an interesting and unusual play of light on bronze.
Louis’ fascination with light continued; he had a vision to make sculptures that emitted some kind of energy or light that would captivate the viewer, and absorb and reflect light; as we ll as changing constantly, depending on the time of day. So he designed his Illuminated steel sculptures, which would look and feel like solid steel during the day; but at night, the metal would dissolve into the darkness and the sculpture would glow.