Arts & Crafts

Former Villa Kujoyama resident Sébastien Desplat publishes Moku Hanga

I want to tell people about the artists I love working with, so I'm going to make a book, multiples, exhibitions.

A Villa Kujoyama resident in 2022, editor and engraver Sébastien Desplat studies the ancient techniques of wood printing, as well as contemporary printing. With a desire to pass on this know-how, he devotes his work to researching the printed image, while trying to develop a directory of techniques to prevent them from disappearing. In his new book Moku Hanga ("wood engraving" in Japanese), he describes the process he studied in Kyoto. 

Updated on 13/12/2023

5 min

Art publisher, engraver and printer, Sébastien Desplat studied at ESAC – École Supérieure d'Art de Cambrai in 2007 before specialising in the printed image. One year later, he began a collaboration with the Centre d'Art de la Métairie Bruyère, a crafts centre that highlights transmission through a collection of workshops. He took charge of programming in 2013. That same year, he took over Atelier R.L.D Paris, founded in 1973, where he worked as an art publisher and printer. He began to focus principally on lithography and leather plate engraving, but also on contemporary printing. 

Contemporary printing remains Sébastien Desplat's favourite area. He tailors the processes and techniques he has at his disposal to collaborate with artists including Etel Adnan, Miguel Barcelo and Pierre Charpin. At the same time, Sébastien Desplat works as an editor for the publishing house 3FPJ (3 fois par jour). It publishes hybrid books somewhere between comic books, silent books and art books. 

In residency at Villa Kujoyama in 2022, Sébastien Desplat went to Kyoto to study traditional Japanese techniques and materials. He experimented with moku hanga (engraving on wood) and washi paper. During his stay in Japan, he conducted research on contemporary printed imagery in libraries, workshops and paper mills to explore ancient techniques in an almost scientific way. He studied moku hanga, for example, with the master Shoichi Kitamura. 

Sébastien Desplat also manages the Atelier R.L.D Paris, where he seeks to support artists and customers in all of their printing projects. In a space that enhances collaborative work, he welcomes clients to help them define their needs, while approaching young artists and supervising projects. He brings his know-how and knowledge to every aspect of his work, with authenticity and a willingness to bring a tradition to life. 

In 2022, Sébastien Desplat was a beneficiary of the Villa Kujoyama, a residency coordinated by the Institut français of Japan and the Institut français de Paris, with the support of the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, as principal sponsor. He published Moku Hanga in 2023, a book where he describes the technique of wood engraving he studied in Japan alongside his master Shoichi Kitamura. 

With the post-residency support that Villa Kujoyama offers beneficiaries, Sébastien Desplat will return to Japan in 2024. He hopes to create a repertoire of gestures and know-how in order to prevent their gradual disappearance and thus disseminate their principal aspects. 

  • 2007


    Sébastien Desplat studies at ESAC – École Supérieure d'Art de Cambrai.

  • 2013


    Takes over the Atelier R.L.D in Paris.

  • 2022


    Residency at the Villa Kujoyama, Kyoto.

  • 2024


    Returns to Japan with post-residency support from Villa Kujoyama.

The Villa Kujoyama
L'institut français, LAB