Virginie Jaquier, Rachel Maisonneuve / Entrails

14 October - 12 November 2017

Virginie Jaquier and Rachel Maisonneuve hadn't met before this exhibition but as they were preparing it, they learned about each other's imaginative worlds and created works which speak to each other.

Rachel Maisonneuve's artistic language is expressed through earth and glass, the materials of fire arts, which she had learned how to work with during her training.  The transparency of one and the primitive mass of the other are transformed into shapes symbolic of motherhood, sensuality, sexuality and death.

Her works are usually installations which can be monumental or intimate.  Thus, at the open-air exhibition at Môtiers in 2015, a tumulus was presented to visitors.  Similarly, Balançoires de Lumière (Swings of Light) at Strasbourg in 2009, was composed of 200 suspended glass plates which, through transparency and reflection, reconstructed the space. 

At the Ferme de la Chapelle Rachel Maisonneuve has imagined three distinct domains which function like the steps in an initiation ritual.  The first rite of passage is depicted in opaque pâte de verre balls studded with holes from which charcoal dust escapes leaving random patterns on the floor.  The object has become a drawing instrument created from a destroyed substance which tells a story.  The work is accompanied by a narrative imagined by the artist who asks what form to give to a body in order to detach it from the last act, death, and transform the grieving process into an artistic creation.  A second installation presents glass petals which are large transparent spheres scattered in space.  The roundness and fragility suggested by the forms recall maternity but it is interrupted here by being broken down into scattered fragments.  The basement space where Rachel Maisonneuve's third work is shown, has been taken over by the ghostly presences of clay objects covered in fabric and suspended in space.  These are organic forms which remind us once again of femininity and sensuality. 

Here and there, between these spaces, the visitor passes in front of Virginie Jaquier's large charcoal drawings.  With a velvety and sensual stroke, the artist's imagination wanders in the depths of the earth in order to extract roots and tubers.  Virginie Jaquier's works, presented in series, are created at a slow pace so the artist makes time to explore every possible recess.  Whether we see skies with scattered clouds, strange mushrooms or intestines, we recognise without any doubt her way of directly confronting the subject, allowing it to invade all the space on the sheet. 

In the final series entitled "Under", forms subtly emerge from the dark background in a hesitant light.  Suspended in an enveloping obscurity they seem to float in isolation or are pressed into clusters in an undefined mass.  The large size of the drawings gives them a mysterious and troubling presence which is emphasised by the inexorable semantic slide from vegetable to animal.  The vibration of the shading and the sparkle of the charcoal result in a kind of tremor on the surfaces which gives life to the mass.  Interpretation of the roots sheltering in the earth suggests a symbolic womb sheltering life.  Looked at from this perspective the drawings respond to the artistic interventions of Rachel Maisonneuve in another form of poetic representation. 


Rachel Maisonneuve trained at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (Higher School of Decorative Arts) in Strasbourg where she specialised in glass making and ceramics.  She has been awarded several prizes.  She presented her large installation Balançoires de Lumière (Swings of Light) at the church of St Maurice in Strasbourg and has participated in various joint exhibitions especially in France.

A graduate of the Beaux-Arts in Geneva, Virginie Jaquier has shown her works regularly in Switzerland since 2006.  Her work has also been shown in Nantes and in Japan.