The song of stars Le chant des étoiles
This volume is a monograph dedicated to the works by Fabienne Verdier exhibited during the artist’s solo exhibition at the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar, which will enter into a dialogue not only with the museum’s contemporary and ancient art collections, but also with the architectural space that contains them, designed by Herzog & de Meuron.
Readers will be offered the opportunity to observe the unprecedented connection established by the artist between the Issenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald and one of her monumental works, which takes its inspiration from the gamut of colors and the aura of light peculiar to Grünewald’s painting. Verdier’s aim is to reflect on the depiction of death no longer seen as an ending but rather as a trace of energy that is released for the living. This connection between man and cosmos, this vital energy: these are the themes at the root of the title—of the book as well as of the exhibition: The Song of Stars.
The large Rainbows installation holds a central role in this volume. The sixty-six works, inspired by the aura of light produced by the death of a star, are envisioned here as individuals, each with its own title that underlines its relationship with the sky, the stars, or light. Furthermore, for Verdier these works stand for the portraits of those who died in the Covid-19 pandemic; they are contemporary icons that give life to a universal work of art.
Fabienne Verdier is a French artist, whose work is powerfully influenced by the encounter with the thought structures of different periods and cultures. Her creative process is rooted in the hybridization of different forms of knowledge and becomes manifest in technical innovations such as using enormous brushes and special varnishes. After obtaining a degree in fine arts, she traveled to China, where she resided from 1983 to 1992 and studied with masters. Later she approached the works of abstract expressionist painters, and between 2009 and 2013 she focused on the Flemish Primitives. In 2014 she set up a studio at the Juilliard School in New York, which had accepted for the first time ever to create a laboratory for the combined study of music and painting. Between 2015 and 2017 she worked with Alain Rey on the fiftieth-anniversary edition of the Petit Robert dictionary, producing twenty-two paintings celebrating the creative energy of language. In 2019 the Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence held a retrospective on her work, retracing her entire career, from her return from China to her most recent practice, created in the quarry of Bibémus in the Montagne Sainte-Victoire. Her works have been included in the collections of several museums, among which the MNAM Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Musée Granet (Aix-en-Provence), the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Munich), and the Fondation Hubert Looser and the Kunsthaus in Zurich.
Musée Unterlinden, Colmar | October 1, 2022 – March 28, 2023