La Galerie, Alliance Française Dubai, is showcasing latest works by 10 contemporary French artists in an exhibition titled Curves, Knots, Interlacing, Memories of the Signs. The show has been organised in collaboration with Courants d’Arts, a group of Parisian artists that is interested in encouraging cultural exchange. The featured artists include Agnès Bressler, M-Christine Charmoillaux, Michel Dubré, Agnès Gayat, Christiane Mazurier, Jacqueline Moralés, Charles Maigret, Jean-Pierre, Sylvie Bonnardot and Claude Quentelo.
“Courants d’Arts is a group of over 25 artists based in Paris. We meet regularly and support and motivate each other. We all have different styles but every year we work on one special theme for an annual travelling exhibition. Our theme this year is Curves, knots, interlacing, memories of the signs and each artist has interpreted it in their own way. I have exhibited my work in Dubai before and I thought it would be nice to bring our show here. Most of the artists in this show have never exhibited in this region before, and we are all excited to show our latest works here,” Quentelo says.
Quentelo, who began her career as an art restorer at the Louvre, is known for her monumental metal sculptures. But the works she is showing in this exhibition are paintings made with guitar strings. “Because I am used to working with flexible metals, I was drawn to the Japanese technique of Sumi-e where metal strings are used to create ink drawings. I have developed my own technique of painting with a guitar string,” she says. Her mastery over the technique is evident by the flowing curves, rhythmic lines and complex crisscross patterns in her ink paintings that are inspired by flowers, music, architecture and contemporary issues.
Mazurier’s textured artworks are also unique because she creates them with sand. “I have a collection of different coloured sands that friends and acquaintances have brought back from all over the world. I wash and sift the sands and label them individually once they have dried. I am fascinated by the infinite variety of shades ranging from cream and ochre to red, green, grey and deep black volcanic sands. Just looking at them makes my mind travel from beaches to deserts and from lakes to rivers across the globe. I used to work with oil, acrylic and watercolour paints but now I use only natural sands in my work because I am deeply moved by a material that goes back millions of years thus linking the past and present, mineral and man, nature and art,” she says.
Her compositions include abstract depictions of the turbulence in the path of life, pieces inspired by nature, and a tribute to Dubai featuring the city’s iconic architecture. Behind every painting the artist has noted where each type of sand used in the work has come from. “It has taken millions of years for each type of sand to be formed and I respect that, so I never mix the sands in my compositions,” she says.
Dubré is one of the most famous contemporary artists in France thanks to high profile projects such as the planting of wheat fields on the Champs Elysees and the publicity campaigns for Air France and the Concorde aircraft. He is showing watercolour paintings from his Muages series done in his unique ‘visionary realism’ style. The poetic paintings depict huge clouds tied down to vast arid landscapes and tiny human figures, setting up a dialogue between the sky, Earth and man that reminds us of our dependence on the clouds for water and hence for life on this planet.
Bressler also highlights the power and mysterious equilibrium of nature through her textured acrylic paintings that celebrate the raw rugged beauty of ancient rocks. “My depictions of bare cliffs and boulders are an attempt to reach the heart of the Earth and find the origins of our planet and of all existence. The lines, cracks and ridges in these rocks carry the traces of our passage across time. I start my paintings with a bare landscape and as I build up the layers the original contours are hidden and become just a memory. I want to invite viewers to delve into the interstices of time and explore the past, the present and the future,” she says.
Jean-Pierre Bonnardot is an anesthesiologist but also has a doctorate in art. His wife Sylvie is a midwife as well as an artist. He is well-known for his sculptures and she is interested in experimenting with new techniques and media for engraving. The couple is showing individual paintings and linotype prints inspired by Dubai’s rapid development as well as works created jointly by them.
Maigret’s architecture inspired mixed media collages reflect his training as an interior designer, whereas Moralés is focused on capturing movement, emotion and light in her abstract works. Gayat and Charmoillaux are exhibiting abstract works that explore a realm between dream and reality that exists beyond the boundaries of culture or nationality.
Jyoti Kalsi is an arts-enthusiast based in Dubai.
Curves, Knots, Interlacing, Memories of the Signs will run at La Galerie, Alliance Française Dubai at Oud Metha Road until September 15.