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Marie Paule LESAGE

"The elephants have crossed the Alps"

02/20/2008 - 04/26/2008

Exhibition curator: Geneviève Holvoët

Marie-Paule Lesage has been using engraving for 25 years. She fights so that this often discredited technique finds its place in contemporary art.

His rather minimalist and very demanding statement does not come from geometric rigor but from sobriety and accuracy, a sensitivity on edge in a very sure sense of the essential. In 2003, she obtained a scholarship from the European Center for Contemporary Artistic Actions (Strasbourg) for a four-month residency in Laos to train students of the Vientiane School of Fine Arts in woodcut techniques. It was there that she discovered the elephants.

And it is with them that she will work in the fall of 2006, during a new four-month residency combining visual arts and theater.

His plastic work will take several directions.

"Laos - or the country of the Million Elephants - is a country where the authorization buffer is as or even more important than the elephant. That’s why I got into gum etching, a simple material that you can find everywhere. A cutter transforms the rubber into a buffer image. I thus started to gather my herd which currently has some 500 elephants.

In the partitions, each elephant has its own but limited space. He agrees with the others to form a song the size of the animal. Playing on the humor of icons and the shadow of tears, he stands as a pillar of their fragile and poetic world.

The feet of the elephants are breathtakingly delicate. On all the paths they travel, they will always choose the precise place where it will be safe. And that as well in a stony river as on paths so steep that one would never imagine to find an elephant there. Their movements are also very silent.

For 15 days, we rented an elephant, Bouarham, and I tried to take the imprint of its paw. Very quickly, a real dance takes place. I'm trying to define the outline of his foot. Lines are written on the plaque in the reality of the exchange. An inter-dance game is emerging. The marked wooden plaques reflect this space and the reality of this elephant's foot.

Printed in blue-green, the prints refer to the colors of the sky and the sea, primordial elements which combine in the animal.

Embossed, they play with the strength, lightness and delicacy of the elephants. "


► Marie Paule Lesage's website



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