Born in 1977 in Picardy, Bénédicte Parmentier was raised near an area of France that was haunted by the history of the First World War. The loneliness of the soldiers who fought in the trenches of Verdun, near Parmentier's home, formed the foundation for her artistic inspiration. Most specifically, she was intrigued by the carvings made by soldiers who used art as a means to preserve their memory in case they lost their lives in battle. Her inspiration is also drawn from the art of Otto Dix, Anselm Kiefer, and Berlinde de Bruyckere.
Parmentier studied ephemeral architecture in Paris. Later, she studied set design and received her baccalaureate degree from the University of Quebec in Montreal, where she currently lives and works. For several years she worked as a designer of stage sets and giant puppets. Her work in model making led to the development of a series figures inspired by early twentieth century porcelain dolls.
These figures represent the culmination of Parmentier's experience in theatre set design with her interest in the psychology of soldiers of the First World War. A self-taught sculptor, Parmentier's theatrical figures represent concepts of loneliness, isolation, and exile as a mechanism of no-return. These concepts are built upon a foundation of the history of humanity and their solitude.
Parmentier's figures are comprised of both raw and delicate materials. The roughness of the clay, plaster, cotton, and metal is contrasted with the sleekness of the gold-leaf, patina of porcelain, and brass. Parmentier also incorporates antique objects into her compositions. These objects have a past history and functional purpose, but are given new life and function in her sculptures.