Mireille Vautier has been working as an illustrator since graduating from the École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (EnsAD), specializing in Communication Design, in Paris (in 1987). She has illustrated nearly 40 children’s books, while continuously working on her own fine art projects. Since 1988, she has presented her paper, glass and embroidered creations at several exhibitions in France as well as in the United States. As a student, she was most attracted to drawings, illustrations and graphic reproduction processes, especially woodcut. She has drawn inspiration from multiple different sources, in particular, Goya’s work, German expressionism, African, Asian and Oceanian art. Her three years in New York, starting in 2006, opened a new period in her artistic career, bringing her applied graphics work to an end and allowing her to focus on pursuing her own independent fine art endeavours.
The exhibition is based on a journey through the senses from the motionless to the animated, showing artwork created with different techniques, varying natural and artificial materials, splicing objects, videos and sounds. The concept of nature as the physical environment surrounding man is extended to a poetic cycle of constant change, birth and transformation. This is matched by the vocabulary used to introduce the theme: living, artificial, breathing and mute material, fibre and thread, time, silence, breath, rustles, breathing, sonority…
The first room shows embroideries on plastic as well as book objects transformed by embroidering, sewing or by cutting out parts. Both groups of artworks touch on the subject of leaving a trace, of conservation and remembrance.
The second room displays graphics series, such as drawings and monotypes, executed on various traditional paper types. In the series Ravines-Monotypes (Ravine-monotype, 2021), inspired by natural landscapes, the space offered by the paper is augmented by the temporal dimension. The artworks Hours (2016) and Days (2016) allude to the subjectivity of time as experienced in our everyday life. The series Sounds (2012-2016) explores how being absorbed in one’s work, focusing on one’s inner world can open a way to symbolic transformation. The metamorphosis that all the works represent in one form or another, is summarized in two video installations.
The artworks presented in the rooms can also be regarded as acts of ritual transubstantiation of the book, a beloved object of the artist. Lines become threads or willow branches convoluting into animated figures, book pages become plastic, printing ink becomes writing ink or China ink or sometimes pure water, while the rhythm of lines is being morphed into sounds. These mutable forms and materials, transforming into each other, make time, too, an indispensable part of these artworks’ existence.
Preparing for the exhibition, the artist wrote: “Material qualities help me draw the likeness of remembrance and time. I talk about the weight of things and their vibrations.”
Curator: Zsuzsanna Tulipán
Contributing partner: Institut Français de Budapest
Cover image: Diary 2010, 2015. Photo © Patrick Gries