This thought-provoking essay by Corinna Thierolf stems from the art created by Fabienne Verdier in a visual and spiritual dialog with the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald (1516), housed at the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar. Between 2019 and 2022, Verdier produced to a series of seventy-eight large-format paintings that develop Grünewald’s meditation on light, drawing not only upon significant moments in the history of science, but also on pivotal themes of both Eastern and Western painting and thus confirm the universal power of art.
The floating Christ, just liberated from earthly life, finds his counterpart in the evanescent lights in the artist’s paintings, in which circles mirror the ideal shape of the sphere—and thus of the world—and can be legitimately defined “night suns” (Jean Paul).
With her Rainbow-Paintings, Fabienne Verdier conjures a natural phenomenon, describing the connection of existence with its own disappearance, of near and far, of eternity and infinity, not to mention of the visible and invisible worlds. Hence the themes of life and death, two poles that are not conceived as antagonists but rather as existing in a state of constant transfiguration. The artist displays a vital, forever changing whole, and with her poetic force she renders the void inhabitable.
Corinna Thierolf is an art historian and freelance curator. Until 2020, she was chief curator at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, whose profile she shaped over twenty-five years through many exhibitions, acquisitions, and publications, for example on Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Dan Flavin, Anselm Kiefer, Walter de Maria, and Andy Warhol. A focus of her current activities is the relationship between private and public collections.