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Les bateaux-mondes de Christine Sefolosha

 

La série « Vaisseaux fantômes » est un moment singulier dans le travail de Christine Sefolosha, et elle s’inscrit au cœur de son œuvre comme une île au milieu de l’océan de son art. Car ce qu’on y découvre ne semble que la face visible d’un continent plus vaste et encore immergé qui nous apparaitra bientôt comme la terre promise de toutes ses recherches et de toutes ses expériences. Aussi, dans cette suite, de monotypes, tout n’est que va-et-vient entre des niveaux multiples qui ne cessent de s’entrecroiser et de se renvoyer les uns les autres.

Il est ainsi question de départ, de larguer les amarres, de quitter la Terre pour les confins. Mais aussi de tout emporter avec soi, à l’instar de Noé et de son arche : le monde et la ville, les êtres et les choses, les formes et les figures ; Babel flottante que n’aurait pas renié le Fellini de « E la nave va ». Et les personnages qui les hantent, aussi spectraux que les vaisseaux y sont fantomatiques, ne cessent que d’y jeter des filets ou d’y monter des échafaudages pour prendre prise ou faire prise. On est ainsi tout à la fois ailleurs et ici, en route vers l’au-delà et plongé au plus profond du réel et du temps.

Mais ce qui caractérise avant tout cette série nouvelle, c’est cette même énergie, ce même élan qui s’engagent dans l’œuvre et par l’œuvre. Car, à bien regarder, la fluidité et la transparence de l’eau n’y sont rien d’autre que cette fluidité et cette transparence toute en nuances de l’encre que déverse Sefolosha à l’aube de chaque dessin. Et la puissance et la force des flots, cette puissance et cette force avec laquelle elle conduit allègrement son trait, et par laquelle elle fait émerger formes et figures d’une vague de couleur, et qui en gardent parfois de délicates écumes frangées. Un expressionnisme fougueux et emporté qu’elle dirige comme le capitane son bateau, afin de mieux emmener son travail vers ce point d’aboutissement, ce point d’équilibre où tout motif ou tout sujet devient souverain, plein, limpide, résolvant d’un seul coup le mystère des apparences et la vérité des situations, condensant en un point unique l’intensité de la vie et un fragment du temps.

       Charles-Arthur Boyer

À propos de l’artiste

Le dessin était

mon île,

mon refuge …

Christine Sefolosha naît, en Suisse, près de Montreux, au bord du lac Léman. Enfant unique, elle grandit auprès d’une mère protectrice et aimante, qui a toujours veillé à la stimuler et à laisser libre cours à son imagination. 

Passionnée d’équitation, la jeune fille se raconte des histoires et se crée un univers peuplé de chevaux et d’animaux. A l’âge de 20 ans, alors que son chemin semblait tout tracé vers une école d’art, les circonstances de la vie la conduisent en Afrique du Sud. Six premières années, passées dans un univers protégé de la communauté blanche. Pause familiale. Mais toujours le dessin. Assidument. Des animaux, principalement. Jusqu’au jour où elle prend conscience de la réalité de l’apartheid. Ses escapades dans les townships la confrontent à une culture bâillonnée par le système. Musique, théâtre, danse, arts visuels: la richesse de la vie artistique sud-africaine la bouleverse. Cette expérience va changer à jamais Christine Sefolosha.

A partir de là, l’artiste réalise qu’elle ne peut plus se contenter de reproduire la réalité environnante, mais qu’elle doit impérativement explorer au plus profond de son ressenti. Trouver sa place dans le monde, autrement dit se réaliser en tant qu’artiste. Retour en Suisse, au début des années 80, désormais Christine Sefolosha mettra tout en oeuvre pour y parvenir. Première exposition à Vevey, en 1988. C’est le début d’un chemin qui l’amènera à exposer à travers le monde.

     

       Marlène Métrailler


Laurence Froidevaux et Marlène Métrailler 

(March 26, 2016)

Les bateaux-mondes

Document PDF (17.8mo)

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About the artist

Drawing was

my island,

my refuge …

 

Christine Sefolosha was born in Switzerland, near Montreux on Lake Geneva shores. As an only child, she grew up under her mother’s care who lovingly encouraged her imaginative streak and left her to explore it freely. Passionate about horse riding, the young girl told herself stories and created worlds inhabited by horses and animals. When she turned 20, and was about to start Fine Art School, life, in an odd turn of events, brought her to South Africa. Her first six years there were spent in a protected environment within the White community. Family was a priority. But she continued drawing. With assiduity. Animals chiefly. Until a time when she became conscious of the harsh realities of Apartheid. Her escapades into the townships confronted her with the gagged, undercover culture of its people. Music, theatre, dance, visual arts:  such an amazingly rich, creative streak was revealed to her through her wanderings. This experience would forever change Sefolosha. From then on, the artist realized that she could no longer be content to reproduce just the surrounding reality, but that she must imperatively explore the depths of her feelings, find her place in the world, in other words, realize herself as an artist. Coming home to Switzerland in the early of the 1980s, Christine put all her energy into reaching her goal. Her first solo show in Vevey in 1988 became the beginning of a path that has brought her to exhibit around the world.

La tête à l’envers

       Marlène Métrailler


Laurence Froidevaux et Marlène Métrailler 

(March 26, 2016)

Christine Sefolosha’s Ship-Worlds

 

The series « Ghost Ships » is a special moment in Christine Sefolosha’s production, like an island in the middle of the ocean of her art. What is there to discover is only the visible surface of a larger, sunken continent that will soon appear to us as the promised land of all her research and experiences.

 

Her monotype series is a back-and-forth between multiple, intertwining levels calling back to one another. It is also about departures, casting off, leaving the land for distant borders. About taking everything with us, like Noah did on his Ark: the world and the city, creatures and objects, shapes and figures; a floating Babel in the manner of Fellini’s “E la nave va”. And the creatures that haunt these places a spectral as ghost ships, keep throwing their nets and putting up their scaffoldings, in order to take hold or keep hold. Thus, we are simultaneously here and elsewhere, on our way to the beyond and immersed in the depths of reality and time.

 

But the main characteristic in this new series is the energy, the intensity and impetus invested in and through her work. Upon closer examination the fluidity and transparency of water are also those if the ink which Sefolosha’s spills at the dawn, at the beginning of each drawing. And the power and force of the tide are those her lines, where each form and figure emerge from a wave of colour, a wave of which they sometimes preserve the delicate, foamy fringes. She sails her fiery, spirited expressionism as a captain sails his ship, bringing her works to their culmination, to the point of balance where each form and object become sovereign, full and clear solving at once the mystery of appearances and the truth of situations, and focussing in one single point the intensity of life and the fragments of time.

 

It is no coincidence if she chose to monotype technique, a unique procedure whose unpredictable, adventurous nature brings unexpected surprises. For instance, when the print of the press duplicates the pier’s guardrail.

Thus, the production of each piece is an inner journey where everything is at stake at each stage, at each stopover. Things arrive on rise; others go away, stray off and then come back, the same or different; others board unexpectedly, upping sticks and leaving. There are teeming multitudes, rustling and colourful, made along the docks or bridges, Crowds of colliding eras, genres and registers. The obverse of time, the hidden side of the iceberg of our world, ships of wise or ships of fools inhabiting forever the artist’s work, intermingling experienced or imagined stories, drawn from reality or dreams, Distant echoes of Hieronymus Bosch, especially of the small paintings in the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille, entitled “The Concert in the Egg”.

 

They could also seem unfathomable mysteries, yet they are also bright symbols. The magic at work in the artist is an allegory, if not a prophecy; in any case, it suggests new directions. And those embarking on Christine Sefolosha’s ships, on their way to their own destiny, are of course the heroes of the world which she has patiently and meticulously summoned or created, year after year; the pantheon, the bestiary, the herbarium: in other words, the encyclopaedia of her own universe, which she carries along on her journey. Edith Carey pointed it out more than ten years ago: the world of Christine Sefolosha “is not born of her imagination, it emerges from the depths of the mysterious underworld which she carries inside of her, and of which she becomes aware through the creative act, although chance also plays a determining role”. And what the artist previously said to Yves Korby about her birds could equally well describe her ships today: “They attract me particularly because they speak of elsewhere, of departures, of freedom. (…)  They symbolize what we long for, and what holds us back.”

 

Thus, almost for the first time, Christine Sefolosha’s inner world and her creation board on the same ghost ship. Her thought, her mind, her soul, her knowledge, and everything she has done for over twenty years, she puts it on water, on a single nutshell that takes the size of a steamer. She takes it all far away, with her usual curiosity attention and determination, toward new challenges and new continents. Whereas her characters, especially the animals, were usually drawn sideways, the passengers of her ghost ships face us, almost with a questioning look: “Come along!”, “Join us!”, they seem to say. “Anything can happen, anything goes here in the painting!”

 

And on those ships of whimsicality and fantasy, reality and dreams, the only captain is no other, of course, than the artist herself, the great instructor of the visible and the invisible, of what is in the air and what is in the depths.

 

Did you say mysteries, fantasy, ghosts? It is rather the unconscious calling back to our consciousness, our dreams and desires calling back to our reason. The instinctive boldness, immense ambition, inner necessity, the unfailing will, the impulses at work in the artist – as in many others – are too interwoven to be sorted out. Never mind! Christine Sefolosha, strangely peaceful and serene, seems to be guided only by her own evidence, by her own star. Heading north! The holds of her boat-worlds are full, and she now mastered her art with confidence and the unmatched pleasure of the creative act.

 

Where will they dock, which countries will they (or we) discover? A promised land? A last refuge? An arrival or a departure? Only her future work will tell, but we can bet that the smooth, radiant appeal of the works that we see today anticipates equally glittering gems in the future. Right now, she is certainly extracting them from their shell as a diver in the deepest oceans.

       Charles-Arthur Boyer

© 2020 - Sefolosha Christine, Montreux, Switzerland