Geneviève Seillé at the Galerie Bonnière
This exhibition has a strongly thematic content, which is quite unusual for Geneviève Seillé. As might be expected from the title ‘Tattooed Giants’, a good part of the space is given over to two bold, proud-standing figures. Their bodies seem to metamorphose under our gaze into dream-landscapes filled with animal and plant forms largely unknown to science. The palette of colours used is extraordinarily vivid. Those familiar with the career of this atypical and visionary artist may notice the re-apparition of some of the calligraphical motifs which characterised her work until several years ago, leading one to wonder whether a return to this style might be imminent. This is the purest conjecture on my part, but it is certain that this series was well-liked by many.
Notwithstanding, the greater part of this exhibition is given over to the première of a completely new collection of mixed-media creations in the form of kimonos. Bold colours are again well to the fore here, with the same profusion of imaginary – but meticulously structured – life-forms. Seillé has always thought of herself primarily as a draughtswoman, but always torn between the conflicting requirements of line, with no surface on which to display all the colours in her imagination, and sheets of colour, unuseable for drawing. The works presented here could be regarded as going one stage further in the attempted resolution of this paradox.
The visitor will hardly fail to be struck by the oriental nature of these works, suggested by the unusual fecundity in the figurations as well as some compositional techniques lying well outside western structural conventions, though in my view the deepest-lying symbolism here will be found in the samurai-inspired armour forms serving as a kind of magical protection. Looked at in this light, an immediate association can be found with the two giants mentioned earlier who, on closer inspection, exude an almost kindly, protective force. A homogeneous and memorable exhibition.