Martine Rey

For 40 years, Martine Rey’s work has been a perpetually evolving exploratory “space-time continuum”, intimately linked to urushi lacquer and to the “object” charged with the poignant melancholy of things dear to Japanese culture: “Mono no aware ”.
born in 1953, France
works and lives in Voiron

Martine Rey first encountered the “urushi” vegetal lacquer in Japan, alongside Master Shinkai. The artist was then faced with a material whose application technique mirrored her own personal and artistic journey. In Japan, lacquer is appreciated as a prestigious artform. However, it is always linked to the “dressing” of objects, applied with patience and delicacy. For two years, while respectfully learning the constitutive skills this secular practice requires, the artist released a narrative project in which lacquer now uncovered the anonymous, abandoned and neglected object. She shifts our attention to its story to describe its unsuspected depth. Both a surface and a reflection, lacquer abandons its protective and decorative dimension to become a precious material in its own right, testifying to the passing of time on “ordinary things” which are glorified as relics, talismans.

Martine Rey hereby composes a common space of discovery and intimacy which superimposes memories and gestures, one that slips into the multiple layers of lacquer like submerged palimpsests. Lacquer is there to mark the passing of time, it is the link between present and memory.



Lacquering workshop with Master Shinkaï

Université des Beaux-arts de Kyoto (JP)


Arts Students’League – New-York (USA)


Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués de Paris (FR)

Solo exhibitions


Villa Kujoyama – Kyoto (JP)


Galerie Tenri – Kulturwerkstatt – Cologne (DE)


Museum für Lackkunst – Munster (DE)


Galerie Artlife Mitsuhashi – Kyoto (JP) 

Group exhibitions (selection)


Se souvenir d’où l’on vient – Voiron (FR)

Natures Mortes – Sinople – Paris (FR)

Paysage Intérieur – Sinople – Paris (FR)


Laque, regards croisés – Bibliothèque Forney – Paris (FR)


La fin des Forêts, Festival VivaVilla – Collection Lambert, Avignon (FR)

Écouter la nature –  Terminal Kyoto, Nuit Blanche – Villa Kujoyama – Kyoto (JP)

Triennale de Laques de Wuhan (CH)


L’usage de l’ombre – Centre Culturel Le Belvédère Saint Martin d’Uriage (FR)



Villa Kujoyama – Kyoto (JP)


Back to the Artists list