Alison’s initial education was in the theatre. After studies at Ecole de Chaillot, she soon became the youngest Director in a French National theatre. With endless curiosity, she then continued her formation at the Fine Arts School of Versailles, where she discovered engraving and perfected her mastery in all traditional artistic techniques. Her practice is deeply informed by her first education in the theatre, as she organizes each space according to choreographic forms. The artist searches for the right note, brings together into one work blanks and different disciplines : the tenderness of engraving, the subtlety of embossing, the depth of Indian ink wash, the detail of highlights and each contribute to the fragile equilibrium of her artworks.
In her new series, untitled “Carte du Tendre” (Map of Tender), drawing rather than engraving is used to map amorous itineraries, ways that lead towards love.
The preceding series, “Carnets de Chagrin” (Notebooks of Sorrow), relates emotions that the artist has gathered from the people around her without any voyeurism. She fixes on paper elusive ripples of emotion, living a permanent form to the ephemeral. Her delicate creations resonate with fluttering emotions, little moments of joy, nostalgia, and the radiance of these captured instants. Lines of Payne’s grey ink draw threads connecting the sensations she has captured. Sometimes, the indecision and the faithfully transmitted hesitation of feeling in these pieces can be baffling. The beauty of the details and the fragile shades create a language, dangerously efficient, and able to move every person when they discover for the first time their own familiar emotions transcribed on paper. The variety of people who love these works have in common the immediate understanding of these shared emotions.
In addition to her works on paper, the artist also developed her “Notebooks of Sorrow” in videos – another connection to her initial formation as a actress. For this series, she welcomes strangers, and they entrust her with their love sorrows, their disappointments, their fears and other strong emotions that have left a sensitive trace in their hearts. From the recorded conversations, she writes monologues that she performs in front of a static camera, in black and white. One of these videos was warmly welcomed at the “Love Screen Pop Corn” festival in Marseille. Another, submitted to an unforgiving audience of highschoolers from Romainville, the jury of the international video festival “La Brigade Des Images”, received a perfect score, a first since the creation of the festival.
In 2013, Alison Bignon was selected for a two-month residency in the artistic village of Jeongsu in South Korea. Immersed in a refined, traditional culture that balances Buddhism and Confucianism, Chinese and Japanese influences, the artist developed her taste for the purity of lines and harmony. She also found inspiration in its lively popular culture, which in turn led her to explore new and more dynamic colors and shapes. As the Korean public increasingly took to her work, simultaneously the artist began to establish connections with international collectors. It was at this time that De Ré Gallery in Los Angeles offered her representation and they subsequently exhibited her work at the gallery’s grand opening in May this year.
In August 2014, she attended an artist’s residence in Finland, a time that she dedicated to engraving, as she had access to a two-meter-wide electric press, a tool that is not available in France.
Text by Marianne Le Morvan, Historian of art
Text and Images courtesy of De Re Gallery, Los Angeles, CA