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Feminine duos about sisterhood

- 07/03/2023


On the occasion of the International Women's Day, we wanted to bring together artists around 4-hands collaborations which are exclusively and resolutely feminine. These artists chose to create together, according to their affinities, and experienced a real moment of sharing. Just like a fraternal bond, the tie that has been woven between these artists is that of sisterhood, united by their passion for art. They share with us today their feelings on this unique experience and also their views on what it means to be a woman artist in 2023.

Why did you agree to do a 4-hands collaboration... of women?
NAEN: For the challenge, to participate in this original initiative launched by Carré d'artistes, but also and above all for the encounter with an artist whose work I admire.
M. FLEUR: This year, I really wanted to work in collaboration with other artists, so when Carré d'artistes proposed this project, I jumped at the chance. A female collaboration, no doubt for the sensitivity and gentleness. 
S. SUNDBLAD: It seemed like a great idea and a humble way to honour International Women's Day.  
O. ESCOLIER: When Nathalie asked me, I immediately accepted with enthusiasm and curiosity. The most important thing was the complicity with the artist. 
D. BALME: The curiosity of knowing what it would be like, I had never done that before.

What is it like to be a female artist in 2023?
NAEN: History has not been kind to women artists, but I don't feel that this is still the case in 2023. For me, being an artist is not so much defined by gender as by a passion, a daily process, a permanent search, a need.
F. DUPRAT: Perhaps a revenge...  
ML. BERTRE FLANDRIN: My experiences as a woman and as a mother have influenced my career as a painter. Sometimes there are doubts, but it is useful to question oneself in order to move forward. Today there are many of us who are women painters and it is a pleasure to see more and more of them in exhibitions. 
M. FLEUR: A fulfilled woman who dares to express her sensitivity and her emotions through her art.
C. ROHART: I'd like to say that it's not important, but because of certain events... In my case, it's time to paint what I have to say. To stand up for women's rights, at all times, and to explore my own identity as a woman.
MACHI: I don't care if I'm a woman or a man artist. You have to be a good artist, " Art has no sex ", that's why I never use my first name.
B. LOVISA: It's not always easy because you have to reconcile your work as an artist with everything a woman does in her daily life.  You can't devote yourself entirely to your work like a man.  There is no parity in this respect. But women are very resourceful because they are used to doing several things simultaneously.

Do you find that there is a specific link between women artists?
NAEN: I'm not sure... There are certain common points of course, but our need to express our sensibility, our look, our creativity, our imagination, our desire to dream are for me neither the prerogative of men nor of women...
L. BESSÉ: I very often exhibit with women artists and I am also part of a women's art collective - Land'art. Yes, I think there is a link, a common sensitivity perhaps.
ML. BERTRE FLANDRIN: There is a need for solidarity between women artists in today's world. It is enriching to exchange between women artists and I think that the link is made thanks to a certain sensitivity. You can also find a certain femininity in the work of a male artist and vice versa.
D. BALME: A warm complicity with a touch of mutual admiration.
O. ESCOLIER: There is a specific link between women in a general way, a sisterhood which is at stake here. Shared perceptions, situations and experiences, but for my part this is not limited to women artists.

How did you meet? Is this the first time you have worked together?
L. BESSÉ: We knew each other before Carré d'artistes, we had already met in exhibitions and I had previously exhibited in the gallery that Marie-Liesse had a few years ago but we had not yet worked together.
D. BALME: We met on Instagram. We were following each other and yes, this is the first time we have worked together.
MACHI: With Silvina, we have a special bond. We are part of the same family but she was also my student for a while. Today, she has become an excellent artist, very feminine. So it was a great pleasure for us to work together for the first time. 
N. DUMONTIER: I met Brigitte and Odile through Carré d'artistes. We came together because of similarities: Brigitte and I are both stained glass artists, and Odile and I are from Savoie and have a great passion for the mountains. But it was the first time I worked with either of them.

Is it harder to work as a pair?
NAEN: Oh yes! but it's exciting! Difficult because I was always afraid of not respecting or even damaging Violaine's work. Difficult also because our media are different: Wet paper in abundance for her, canvas or metal for me. For instance, no background for me because I work with acrylics, which "plasticize" the paper and make it impossible to moisten it and thus carry out the watercolours. So Violaine had to start and I had to step in afterwards... Hence my immense fear of spoiling her work! I had to find my place...
ML. BERTRE FLANDRIN: It may seem more difficult to work with two people because you have to think about respecting the other person's style, while keeping your own without overdoing it! 
M. FLEUR: It's not harder, it's very rich, we bring a lot to each other.
C. ROHART: It's more about organization. For me, anything that is difficult is rewarding and I was delighted to see the finished paintings. It's the first time I've done a four-hands collab and I found our exchange very fluid.  We began by going for coffee, I was surprised to find so many similarities in our artistic approaches for such a different result. 
MACHI: No, it was a very nice experience... I think it's worth it, to exchange ideas, different points of view! It's wonderful!
O. ESCOLIER: I would just say that it's simply different, it's a unique experience that goes beyond the framework and requires the cohabitation of two artistic universes.

What was the biggest challenge working as a duo? 
D. GAULTIER: Trying to adapt to a different creative approach, a different colour palette, unusual working methods and only designing part of the work.
F. DUPRAT: On the piano, with four hands there is a written score unless you improvise. The difficulty was to enter another universe than one's own and to play a new coherent music. To connect to a story, to find the formal and coloured links, without getting lost in them.
S. SUNDBLAD: The greatest challenge is to respect the individuality of the other artist and at the same time to try to complement each other.  
N. DUMONTIER: Solving technical problems. I work in oil, Brigitte and Odile in acrylic, they are two mediums with different drying times.
B. LOVISA: It's a bit stressful at the beginning because you adapt to the other person. And you hope she likes it.

Were you surprised with the result ? 
ML. BERTRE FLANDRIN: Yes, very pleasantly; I voluntarily chose to integrate characters into Laurelle's composition, as she does not have any in her paintings. Her paintings are thus "inhabited" and the result is a harmony between the two of us which surprised us both and which we like very much! 
M. FLEUR: Yes and no. I knew that our styles would coexist very well but the result is even better than I had imagined.
C. ROHART: Absolutely. I started, then I handed it over to Belladonna. When she handed the paintings back to me to add the final touches, I was able to discover the many details she slips into her creations like a treasure hunt. We had decided to shift our two accents a little, and it looks like the drawing is coming out of the oil painting.
O. ESCOLIER: Yes, following our exchanges, a first idea had come to me, but when I received the canvas in my studio and observed it for a long time, another idea emerged.
N. DUMONTIER: No, not surprised, amazed!

What did you learn from this experience? 
L. BESSÉ: I loved completing Marie-Liesse's paintings, she had made characters sitting in armchairs and I had to invent a decor around them while looking for colours that harmonised with hers, which are not necessarily those I usually use. I found the experience very fun and interesting.
ML. BERTRE FLANDRIN: It's an experience that proves to us that when you trust the other person it's very interesting to mix two worlds, you just need to refrain from being intrusive. It's also a way of sharing your passion.
M. FLEUR: Sharing, bringing each one's universe and finding the story that will link the two worlds, is very enriching and allows you to progress in your practice.
D. BALME: Discovering the work of another artist "in real life", the grain of the paper, the brushstrokes, it is very enriching.
O. ESCOLIER: A very beautiful, fluid and fruitful artistic and human experience.
C. ROHART: An encounter. Belladonna made me want to make the clues I leave in my paintings more visible.


Is this something you will do again in the future?
C. ROHART: I hope so, it's important for me to make several collaborations during the year. Working in a group allows me to get out of my bubble. It's enriching to be confronted with others, with different ways of thinking and creating.
ML. BERTRE FLANDRIN: I would gladly try this experience again, which is positive because it allows us to open up to friendly and generous sharing. Between artists we need to communicate and get to know each other.
MACHI: Yes, of course! I thank Carré d'artistes for this initiative. 
O. ESCOLIER: For me, this experience remains unique. But why not respond to another unique experience? What I like is the singularity of a one-off project and the discovery and exploration that comes from it. 
S. SUNDBLAD: I would do it again, because it was a wonderful experience.

Who would you like to repeat this adventure with?
L. BESSÉ: I would like to continue with Marie-Liesse because I think we could " perfect " our duet. It takes a little time to enter and feel comfortable in each other's universe.  And maybe next time we'll work directly together at the same time! 
NAEN: "Perhaps a recommendation?
MACHI : "I would like to relive this experience with Matisse or Picasso. More seriously, it was a very positive experience that I would be happy to repeat because we learn a lot from each other.

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