Art market Magazine January 2017

 
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"Soundscapes - The Juilliard Experiment", until 11 February 2017, Patrick Derom Gallery, Brussels. www.patrickderomgallery.com

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"Rhythms and Reflections",
Waddington Custot, London, until 4 February 2017. www.waddingtoncustot.com

Fabienne Verdier
© Atelier Fabienne Verdier

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PORTRAIT

Fabienne Verdier, poetic abstraction

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few kilometres from frenetic Paris, in a village with a touch of the English countryside, time seems to stop. The
trees, decked out in their autumn colours, positively glow. This is where the French artist Fabienne Verdier decided to live and work on her return from China. A place that fits well with her painting: monumental. On the eve of her exhibition at the Waddington Custot gallery, not a canvas is in sight; only a few cases are still waiting to go to London. Half-studio, half-chapel, this ascetic space enables the artist to compose her huge paintings, many of which are now in leading collections, like those of François Pinault and Hubert Looser. Fabienne says she spends hours researching and thinking, surrounded by her books (she loves the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the writings of philosopher Gilles Deleuze) and objects that inspire her. In her library, you see a wealth of items placed meticulously on the desk, such as branches, small shells, scholar’ rocks, various mosses and a Buddha. "They make up a kind of poetic inventory of the world's diverse forms," she says.

Memories of China
Pinned to the wall is a photo evoking the years she spent at the Fine Arts Institute in Sichuan Province: years with little material comfort, but much spiritual experience. Fabienne is smiling as she poses alongside her Chinese friends. One is Zhang Xiaogang, now a painter whose works are worth millions. Fabienne was 22 when she decided to boldly uproot herself from France and go to China. The teaching at the École des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse no longer satisfied her, and she needed to confront a "radically different" pictorial approach. In the opposite direction to Zao Wou-Ki a few decades earlier, she set out for China in 1984 to seek a way of representing nature, inspired by an aesthetic and concepts thousands of years old, and light years from the West. In “The Dragon's Brush: A Journey to China in Search of a True Master”, published in 2006 by Shambhala Publications, she looks back at her meeting with her master, Huang Yuan, who for nearly ten years guided her along the road to a new abstraction. She also learned from Wu Zuoren, Li Guoxiang and Lu Yanshao. Fabienne draws her strength and serenity from this long period in China.

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Art Market Magazine January 2017
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