ELISABETH LEVERRIER

A FRESCO, La Manufacture de l'image, 2017.


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This book’s “burnt wood” bears the similarities of a fresco and through this, Élisabeth Leverrier takes up a tradition that dates back to the origins of the art. For Élisabeth Leverrier, the walls that act as her starting block no longer portray the curls of a bison or a galloping horse like in Lascaux, and they do not delve into the mysteries of a trompe-l’oeil landscape like in Pompeii or Rome. The artist seeks to harness the energy that emanates from certain places and place it on the surface covered with traces, lines, and signs. The act gives new life to something that had disappeared. The figurative gives way to the abstract.


A fresco invites us, as its chapters suggest, on an initiation to find the visible in the invisible, the presence in absence. The walls of this platonic cavern are covered in flickering images which we must revoke as illusions of captive spirits; Élisabeth Leverrier’s fresco evokes the dancing shadows of the past and the energy she portrays invites further contemplation...


Jeanne Verdun



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THE BIG NIGHT LIGHT

In November 1993, Usinor Sacilor closed the Unimétal Normandie steel plant (SMN). The huge steel plant functioned day and night offering a vision of an endless fire machine...For years I saw the sky reddened by a fire smoldering over us...
...It's infernal cycle of sound and light suddenly stopped.
As a plasticien, I invested the place so full of memories : by letting speech circulate again, the energy of these places became visible and susceptible to feed new networks...

A book : conversations between steelworkers and young actors.
Two videos : a report on the last casting and a fiction where each person reappropriates the common memory : fire.


The Big Night Light, realized by E. Leverrier, supported by the Pleins-Feux association.
Book-object which can be ordered from the Editions Jean-Michel PLACE.

Pierre ROBERT, steelworker :

"SMN FEUX, a vision of the worker's world through the prism which was the fire. "







































A FRESCO, DANS LA PEAU D'ELISABETH LEVERRIER

Dans cet ouvrage, l'artiste invite à parcourir la démarche qui l'anime depuis 1985. Textes à l'appui, photographies mémorielles d'installations passagères et captures de performances, le livre révèle un processus de création qui dialogue entre danse, théâtre, cinéma et photographie.

C'est naturellement telle une danseuse, à la limite du rituel, qu'Elisabeth Leverrier nous apparaît avec sa démarche a fresco qui se concentre sur l'énergie verbale des lieux vacants. L'artiste s'applique à la transférer grâce à un corps qui devient instrument et qui ne fait plus qu'un avec les morceaux de hêtres calcinés qui lui servent de pinceaux. Captant les ondes d'énergie disparue, se hissant et se haussant pour atteindre les cimaises, sortes de feuilles blanches installées dans l'espace, elle trace une mémoire graphique de la sonorité des lieux. Les surfaces, sols se couvrent de lignes abstraites mais qui ne font pas abstraction du geste qui les a vues naître. Pour accompagner pleinement cette plongée visuelle dans le projet A fresco, le livre permet, grâce à l'utilisation d'un QR code, une immersion sonore dans son travail. Le lecteur parcourt alors les interventions dans l'espace de l'artiste, au rythme du tracé, au son du bois calciné qui s'écrase et laisse l'empreinte de son passage. Le trait, tantôt lourd, épais, se met parfois à respirer, se fait léger, presque absent. Il trace une frontière, déchire l'espace et le rend vibrant, redonnant alors aux espaces et à notre imaginaire une énergie disparue.
Autre facette de son travail, les Oscillateurs d'Elisabeth Leverrier, peintures de cendre, sont, eux, comme autant de lignes d'horizon aux variations infinies. Avec le feu comme origine de la création, les contrastes et les teintes jouent des impressions et invitent à la contemplation, tels des paysages vibrant du ciel à la terre.
Retraçant vingt ans de vie de l'artiste, A fresco est un livre de mémoire qui parle de la naissance. Celle d'un geste, d'un feu rallumé, de dessins fixés qui deviennent fresque.

Marion Cazy
livre/échange
Novembre 2017
Centre Régional des Lettres de Basse-Normandie



La Mémoire collective

Suite à la fermeture du site sidérurgique d’Unimétal Normandie (SMN) en 1993, le cycle infernal de son et de lumière de l’usine s’est brusquement arrêté. Élisabeth Leverrier réalise une vidéo « SMN Portes ouvertes » à la fois témoignage et documentaire, « avant que le silence douloureux du non-dit ne se transforme en amnésie générale ».

Par ses performances, l’artiste, nous dit Jeanne Verdun dans l’ouvrage A fresco, cherche à « capter les ondes d’énergie qui se dégagent de certains lieux pour les transférer sur la surface qui se couvre de traces, de lignes, de signes. Le geste fait renaître quelque chose qui a disparu ».

Élisabeth Leverrier dessine à l’aide de bois-brûlés. Sa technique « A fresco » est une technique particulière de la peinture murale dont la réalisation s’opère sur un enduit avant qu’il ne soit sec.

E. Leverrier : « Le dessin est comme une mémoire graphique du lieu, une restitution de sa sonorité. »



Le choix de l’éphémère ?

Que reste-t-il du processus artistique ? Ce qui n’est pas sans rappeler le choix de la Biennale de Paris de traiter le sujet dans l’un de ses colloques « Ces gens confondent sans doute processus et vide ».

L’artiste s’intéresse à la construction des images mentales. Ses dessins sont le fruit de contraintes verbales pour atteindre les cimaises et se déplacer. Les lignes témoignent de la tension du corps.

E. Leverrier : « Ce brusque arrêt de l’acte de peindre va provoquer l’émergence des souvenirs, tel un flot de paroles ininterrompu, un bouillonnement sonore. Comment rendre visible cette sonorité ? »

Le résultat final est épuré : marques noires sur fond blanc. Le feu allumé par Élisabeth Leverrier est éteint. Jeanne Verdun écrit « Art abstrait donc, mais qui ne fait pas abstraction de l’espace qui l’a fait naître ; du geste qui l’a fait naître."



Art & Contemplation

Face à la surenchère d’images et à l’hyperactivité que propose les médias : l’art permet-il de faire une pause ? De faire le vide ?

Les lignes d’Élisabeth Leverrier invitent à la contemplation. Sa volonté est d’arriver à un état de conscience « où le monde est entier, où se déploie une énergie tranquille et fabuleuse. Là. Arriver au rien et réceptionner le monde ».

Axelle Anne
lacritique.org



ENDLESS LOOK



INTERVIEW

Benoît Cousin :

Through your work as a plastic artist, and particularly through the film « Endless look» that we have just seen, can you tell us what you try to deliver, to transmit, to say... to sing, since there are songs, and dance, and an endless touch, as your title indicates?



• «Endless look» is first an invitation to time : I invite you to the time just before the act of drawing, when I watch the world all days, all months long ; it is a work of digestion of events ; when I go back in time with the fire thread reflecting prehistory ; it is the time I need to leave visible reality, to forget it, to find myself again, to find collective memory again : 40 000 years of the myth of the goddess, our prehistoric venus. A primitive part dormant within ourselves. Endless look : a look scanning time to reach our essential.

• «Endless look» sounds like a refrain, an eternal renewal : its song is very important and involves pictures - incantation? - a ritual? I put the world to rights, I try to transform pictures, one picture, it's the stake of the film.

As a woman artist, where do you make the link between your film and the theme of the Sepulcre exhibition : «Women's rights agree with the feminine gender too »?



• My film starts with a black and white picture : a silhouette protecting itself with its arms and representing for me an image of fate ; it ends with a coloured picture of a calm, relaxed, reconstructed and plump woman. In 12 mn, I have moved from a picture of fate to a picture of an accomplished woman!

• To pass from one to the other I draw : it is urgent to transform matter, to respond to the world ; no time to speak, drawing becomes an obsession and a jubilation. The task is huge, the ogee mouldings are high, the beam is heavy, I am at the foot of the wall : I find my energy in fire and anger, I struggle and try to reach the top. It's too much for me and I try again several times : the drawing appears. Disproportion, surpassing oneself, potlatch, sublimation. To the question I have asked myself for years, of knowing what forgiveness ( from «per donare» = to give totally ) is, I feel like saying that drawing is of the same nature as forgiveness, that is to say a time altered answer to a world of violence.

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HAPPINESS

Elisabeth Leverrier's work gives us a universal and unique emotion, the emotion of human beings facing the magic of their presences in the world, facing their inner settings, their representations of Reality, their sensations.
The big drawings of burnt wood turn the struggle between the artist, the fire and the space, into an essential and universal trace evoking the traces left by the first men in prehistoric caves. That trace marks the presence of human beings in nature and the force of nature in human representations.
Elisabeth Leverrier's painting continues that reflection in order to give us back the intimate analysis of the interaction between nature and human thought, between reality and imaginary, between the object and its representations.
Her «Filters of the sky» are marvellous moments of dialogue between the real and inner scenery, the incarnation in each of us of the passage between the world and what we imagine of it. That sudden appearance of our emotions, of our feelings on the pictures of the world must be seen in her films, where colours appear, magnify reality like the pigments spreading on the lepers of «Plump»; or like the red colour invading and stroking the images of the dancer of «Endless look».
Her last works assert that from this confrontation between real world and inner world, a transcended reality comes to light, a right for happiness and beauty, an harmony between being and reality. Her «Propuesta» are an incarnation of the interaction between the perception of the world and human thought made of memories, knowledge, concepts. In Elisabeth Leverrier's work, that mental content does not spoil the beauty or the truth of natural settings, but magnifies them. It is the story of the reconciliation of Man with himself, the appeasement of the conflict between outer and inner world, the expression of a form of happy meditation offered to us by this artist.

Nathalie Tzourio-Mazoyer
Research Director in Cognitive Neuroscience
Bordeaux University
May 2012



During the act of transmitting or teaching there are diadactics which have their merits and those which provoke a leap forward, awaken one's curiosity, one's desire to discover more, to learn, to appropriate.
With Elizabeth Leverrier I have learnt to look, to put myself in a state of perception to find my own way to read, to gain new assurance and so a new liberty.
What seduced me most in Elizabeth's work is the energy that she can bring out of each person and redistribute it, amplified tenfold. Her art resides in her capacity to bring out talents by contact with others, creating bonds, like so many bridges, like so many circuits of re-established words, invisible streams which she discredits on the picture rail.
Let yourself be tempted by the liberty to capture the wavelengths, feel the vibrations, sharpen your senses in the space that she provides for you to conquer.

Françoise Grieu



FACE TO FACE

I go in
Space within space
This is how to make a sentence with a subject, verb, complement to speak about, conjure up, describe Elisabeth Leverrier's artistic work, which can be seen at the exhibition “Touching the Infinite 2” (Toucher l'infini, 2) in the IGDA 2,0 gallery in Caen during the month of January 2020.
What or who is the subject ?
If I am confident as to what I am seeing, I see a burnt trail, an unprecedented calligraphy of her interior alphabet.
It's a note, a graphic, resonant note written on the cyma.
In a t instant, this eternal trail surged up and became timeless, and surged up every time my eye looked at it, every time my eye ran along it : it sprung up and reacted like the original.
Permanent renewal.
Blink, blink your eyes : this trail appears/disappears appears/disappears appears/disappears...
I discover my identity.
It's in a wink, every time I come to the quintessence, being fully conscientious of my existence, this trail personifies me in the mirror image of the human trace which it sends me. This trace that I see is mine. I see the trace of my vital primitive existence, I find my entrails, my vital roots.
An intoxicating renaissance.
This is what is facing me, initiating me in Elisabeth Leverrier's artistic work. A sort of authorized genesis, it's a good idea to define life just by a trail in infinite space into which I personify myself my feet on the ground, my head in the cosmos, without knowing having forgotten since birth, that I am only a trace of humanity !!
My thanks to Elisabeth Leverrier for making me conscious of this.
Renaissance, sublime Incarnation. I joyously enfold myself in this artistic,societal maternity coat. And so I slip away from my absent dead end and step aside from the traditional.
Thank for this eternal journey as this trace is, for evermore, imprinted in me !!
Subject, verb, complement : I will say then that here is the vital energy to feel the living human traces of a taming magician who could well be one of these women-flames-guardians of humanity.

Virginie Le Brisois, writer
January 24th 2020