by Rachel Heidenry
She is an artist concerned with fragility.
Valérie Favre paints the forlorn and despondent – but in doing she reveals the beauty, the mythical, and the sublime. One series focuses on the fragility of flowers. Another explores suicide. Her canvases exude a ghostly quality – blurry, haunting, faint. Despite this fog, there is a clear intention within each canvas to explore or make sense of a reality, even when that reality is obscure.
Born in Switzerland, Favre currently lives and works in Berlin after spending over a decade in Paris. Her work centers around a handful of themes – art history, the theater, film, philosophy. She thinks in terms of a series or a set, in a manner almost literary, so that each canvas is weighted by its full story. At times these series take on narratives and folklore – fantastical characters moving in and out of frames. And yet she is still individualizing – not fully story-telling – the works reliant on the fact that their canvases are their own. Rather than narratives, she creates dialogues.
It has been a year since I saw The Suicide Series. I still think about it – the figures, the shapes, the ghostliness. While it hasn’t all quite clicked, I knew instantly that the series was profound, poignant, purposeful. It has led to conversations and references – used as a mode through which to speak about something so fragile and yet so finite. It’s still on my mind. I’m still processing it.
Paint manipulated into thought. That is what Favre does best.