in Collaborations | 04 OCT 20

Of Song and ‘Active Silence’: Fabienne Verdier

In her tranquil studio, the French artist’s new paintings give form to the human voice

in Collaborations | 04 OCT 20
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As the first ever artist-in-residence at the renowned Juilliard School in New York, Fabienne Verdier studied the vocal practice and breathing technique of the singers and musicians in training. The resulting series, ‘Vortex’, comprises large scale paintings, each one a unique response to the way a soprano sings a specific operatic aria by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The paintings’ swirling, vortex-like strokes are made with the use of massive horsehair brushes which Verdier operates from a specially built mobile platform above the canvas. Manifestations of Verdier’s desire to go beyond a ‘static, unmoving’ form of representation, they offer points of connection with the ‘true nature of reality’: ‘spontaneity, movement, change’, as she reflects in this video.

Filmed at the French artist’s studio complex in the remote countryside of the Val-d’Oise while working on the ‘Vortex’ series this summer, the video sees the artist in her studio, the library (where long periods of research and contemplation precede the beginning of new works) and surrounded by nature: whose ‘active silence’, Verdier says, ‘brings these paintings to life.’

‘Fabienne Verdier: Vortex’ is on view at Waddington Custot, London from 6 October to 17 November, 2020.