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

« A fresco is looking for the meaning and the essence of painting : to reach nothing ? to receive the world ? Then takes place a dialectics space that allow us to understand, to grasp, to formulate, to build a part of the wholeness : no repentance, no respite, to invite the presence. There (...) »

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

A fresco, La Manufacture de l'image, publication January 2017, 35 euros.

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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. "


The Endless Look is made up of the genesis of the drawing (is what I see a picture or the thing itself? What caused the first picture? It's origin, the sound? The fire?) The film moves around four images of women and lets one glimpse the reconstituated body.
The gazing time, a rituel?



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.


Since 1986, I've been obliged to keep the argentic film trace of my works, because they were short-lived... That photographic work continues in a methodic and digital way for the paintings called «The filters of the sky» ; and also in order to take distance and see what is really at work in the process of painting.
But a photo of a painting is nothing but a postponed image of reality, a fiction: I went back to sea, to reality, to the very source.
What is reality? The photo of the sea painting? The photo of the sea scenery?
In the transcendent field, Simone Weil talks about contradiction as something possible, such as a door.
The «Propuesta» are an attempt to make visible a contradiction space, a dialectic between fiction and reality; they are enriched by the question I have asked myself for more than 20 years : «from what I see, I don't know if it is an image or the thing itself.»
The «Propuesta» were created in 2008 from a proposition of Pilar Altilio, an Argentinian art critic, to work on the idea of travelling. I can see in that the possibility to introduce in Normandy a bit of that inner feeling - the magic realism.

They are also propositions for frescoes.


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