:: VALERIE CRAUSAZ
Paintings are first and foremost a trace left by the body of the artist. However, there are some artists ¨C and Val¨¦rie Crausaz is one of them ¨C who have chosen to adopt a tradition of body language.
What does the tortuousness of these unfinished lines signify other than a never-ending arabesque attempting to record an anatomical shape. The artist blends her desire to describe somebody else inevitably intertwined with her own body language. The model can only be an extension of oneself. And this is why artists just create self-portraits even if they are not aware of the fact, or if they don¡¯t want to know for the only reason that they are only able to capture reality through their own gestures. Val¨¦rie Crauzas draws with grace or conviction, hesitation or panic. The messages that the paintings convey are simply images recorded in her memory of body movements or her state of humour. It is never a body immobilised in its shape, but always a body in movement where the paint records the impulses and state of flux. It¡¯s a painting without any tricks, as direct as the first gesture which only artists know that it¡¯s the most difficult to achieve, the most daring because it¡¯s the most simple. A painting which is engaged and which has chosen to belong to the Impressionist movement, somewhere between Francis Bacon¡¯s ejaculations of dripping white, the drawings of panic-stricken bodies which De Kooning carried out with his eyes shut, or else the vigorous sprays of John Mitchell¡¯s last bouquet just before he died, but above all it seeks that impossible state of harmonious serenity depicted in Matisse¡¯s intertwining.
Alain CLEMENT - July 1994.
:: DRAW ME A SHAPE¡
On arriving at the entrance to Val¨¦rie Crausaz¡¯ workshop, there is a pile of painted shapes cut out in offset plates (aluminium sheets used by printers). One has a curious desire to look at them and play with them before the paintings. They are simple shapes, direct, radical, and in short, very obvious. Why obvious? I then begin to look at the drawings and paintings hanging on the wall or lying on the floor. The shapes abound, swing, pivot, turn and always this self-evidence. Until 2002, a little fellow drawn in childlike graphics, often painted in grey, structured the surface and made the shapes play with themselves. Today the little guy has disappeared and has been replaced by an abundant stream of vegetal, animal or quite simply graphical patterns ¨C stripes, circles, discs, bars¡¡They are painted using stencils (positive or negative), like shapes that have been cut out: without any hesitation, just like a child cuts out a shape. Their effectiveness is reinforced by an array of intense colourful jerky chords, often complementary and painted en aplats. The different shapes are superimposed and interspersed; they overlap in an accentuated movement by a game of numbers. One¡¯s eye is drawn by a luminosity which is very contrasted, abrupt, which shifts the subject, sculpts the space in zones of shadow and light where the shapes unfurl and pour out. Their association appears to be improbable, an uncontrolled stroke of luck. Drawn by the same hand, the forms end up by enjoying themselves. In a noisy farandole, their joyful sequence makes the light cascade. It reminds me of Alexander Calder¡¯s Cirque, so fragile yet so powerful in its art form, also his Mobiles. There are so many artists who have based their research around abstract art forms. From Henri Matisse to Shirley Jaffe, from Hans Arp to Stuart Davis, the different proposals diverge. But Val¨¦rie Crausaz has not drawn her formal vocabulary from these artists.? What makes her share their universe is the vitality that she impulses into her paintings and drawings on paper. Her shapes are not as refined as those of Matisse; they don¡¯t have the sophistication of those of Shirley Jaffe. They are not as elegant as those of Hans Arp, and the construction is not as skilfully calculated as in Stuart Davis¡¯ works. They are abrupt, hurried, and assert themselves by the power of their graphics and the gaiety of their colours. If Calder is evoked with his Cirque, it¡¯s because there is the same joy, the same childish jubilation which makes the shapes dance and chinkle. The matter is always a function of the technique used. There is no repetition from one technique to another: a creamy smoothness for the wax paintings, a velvety touch for the drawings, and a dull opacity for the monotypes. If spontaneity has guided the cutting-up of the shapes, if their position is random, there is a sort of persistence which models, lightens and flattens the subject.
The form is twisted up to satiation. Beaming, saturated, illuminated, resounding, she makes us join in with the dance. The proof is there. The freshness and stubbornness of childhood, generosity and acquired maturity allow Val¨¦rie Crausaz to dare such an adventure.
Marielle BARASCUD, July 2003
:: THERE¡¯S SOMETHING GROWLING...
Something growls in Val¨¦rie Crausaz¡¯ painting; something which neither the artist nor the observer is capable of identifying. Something that drops its mask and then hides in the darkness of the black colour, suddenly embellished with emblematic colours and through this alphabet of objects devoid of sense on their terrible evidence, erring in the middle of the paintings like other suspended enigmas¡
Does this represent all of the anger, all of the weight of the world held at arm¡¯s length gracefully and imploringly¡? I trust the artist, in other words in the energetic and stubborn human being who has made her desire and courage her rationale for her own life.
All genuine painting begin by this blind and touching quest for a singular space, for a link that is characteristic and where, as a result of sustained work and an unfailing insistence, the unnamed will gradually change into a mirror in which we recognise ourselves and the terror-stricken founder is replaced softly by a cultivated space.
Vincent BIOULES, June 1996