I feel that my works are specifically feminine. There is in the female psyche something that can rise to the heavens. The feminine spirit is positive, and not in the same way as the masculine one. (…) My work is delicate; it may look strong but it is delicate. True strength is delicate. All my life is in it, and my entire life is feminine, and my creation proceeds from a point of view entirely different than that of men. My work is a creation of the feminine spirit, there is no doubt about it. I am not very modest. I have always claimed to be building an empire. Few women have the courage to dedicate themselves to art. In a way, it is a sacrifice, but it is a choice.
Women, and feminine creation, have been at the center of the gallery’s history since its origin. Jeanne Bucher was the first to exhibit the works of Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, to whom the gallery dedicated some fifteen solo exhibitions, and whose works were part of numerous other group exhibitions. In 1978 Jean-François Jaeger presented L’Espace en Demeure, an exhibition that brought together the works of Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, Louise Nevelson and Magdalena Abakanowicz. This theme, handled in a way that was pioneering for its time, showed works created by three women artists who expressed themselves within the interiorized space of their medium.
Forty years later, Le Féminin Demeure prolongs this theme with the same three artists, as well as other female artists who were taken on by the gallery as years passed, such as Vera Pagava, Yamamoto Wakako, Fabienne Verdier, Zarina Hashmi and Antonella Zazzera.
Depending on the cultural context and the generation these artists belong to, the issue of Home is treated differently by each one: be it through a space both mnemonic and futuristic, woven in networks by Maria Helena Vieira da Silva; the putting of space into a trance through geometries by Louise Nevelson; the vibrating outlines of Vera Pagava; the cement sculptures of Claude de Soria; the full Japanizing nature of Yamamoto Wakako; the space grasped as a Unique line of Abstraction by Fabienne Verdier; the maps, trips and sensations of Zarina Hashmi; or the framework of copper harmonies of Antonella Zazzera. These female artists interpret, each in her own way, a sort of Home at Home, or interior Home, evoking the memory of moments experienced or deeply felt in the Body-Home or the House-Home, so as to preserve sites or moments bound to be destroyed or forgotten, or so as to bring up the issues of nomadism or exile all the way to the asserted universality of the universal Home, evoking the contemporary issues of body-memory, energetic nature, and self universality, which offer new approaches for inspiration and questioning perceived by the poetic sensibility of the feminine approach.
If different in its approach, this exhibit nonetheless echoes the group exhibition of women artists organized at La Monnaie de Paris starting on October 20, 2017, which draws its inspiration from Virginia Woolf’s essay «A Room of One’s Own», evoking the place that women occupy in the novel and in art in general. In 2009/2010, the exhibition, dedicated to female artists, brought together some 350 works by 150 artists from the beginning of the 20th century up to now. Some of the works exhibited here by Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, Louise Nevelson, Magdalena Abakanowicz, as well as Fabienne Verdier and Claude de Soria, were part of that exhibit.