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The mystery of Natacha Couvelaire

Who is Natacha Couvelaire? By looking at her work and the off the beaten track she has layed down as an artist, you will never know more than what you want to imagine. She depicts herself as introvert, secretive. Don’t see this as being coquettish, she’s simply lucid. “I only reveal myself through my drawings”, she admits. Let’s begin the journey into Natacha’s world...

A philosophical tale

When Natacha talks of her childhood, one imagines her in an XVIIIth Century parlor. Bookcases, oriental objects from a collector grandmother … as scenery. The characters? A family from the old French bourgeoisie, who receive artists, intellectuals, literary society.

A little girl listens passionately to adult conversation, reads all sort of books, travels through novels, dreams, communicates little. Except through her drawings. She’s only four when an artist, who creates silk designs for Hermès and Givenchy, spots her talent and gives her drawing lessons. At an age, where little girls usually play with dolls, Natacha’s artwork is already shown as scenery for a play and attracts the attention of Pierre Cardin. At barely ten, her work is presented in a collective silk design exhibit at the Maison de la Culture in Nevers.

Have you ever heard “The Baron in the Trees”? Natacha has read the philosophical tale by Italo Calvino dozens of times. And what of the imaginary story of Cosimo, a young boy who climbed in a tree to escape the constraints of society, doesn’t it remind us of Natacha’s own tale?

She lives in a bubble... Dreams of the family home where she spent her vacations, a little house set in the dunes. Timeless as if cut off from the world. You will never cross Natacha in artist’s citadels or in the latest creative neighborhoods. This Parisienne prefers calm places surrounded by gardens locking herself up to work. She never feels at home, except in her artwork. “That’s where I am”.

Imaginary journeys

Her artworks are her haven but also her port of call to millions of destinations. Her imagination is without limits or borders, timeless. From the famous children’s ‘Tales and Legends’, relished at a young age, to Stephan Zweig or Philippe Erlanger’s biographies, Natacha has often travelled through novels into time and history. Peal Buck led her to “The Good Earth”. Through the writings of this American author, Natacha stops off at Shanghai, Suzhou or Beijing. Writer Isaac Bashevis Singer takes her into the Eastern Europe of the Ashkenazi Jews.

Asia, Russia, the Middle East make her thrill. But Natacha’s journeys remain virtual. She reads maps, pinpoints places, looks for mountains and lakes, whether the region is hot or cold. She lets herself be taken away to other eras, by sensations, smells, colors. Mostly color. “Where ever I may be, color associations make me escape to another country” she invents stories “I picture myself in Iran in the XVIth Century, I’m in the street. Or I’m visiting a Chinese palace, I’m next to the Empress, I can see the courtesans.”

Would you like to follow her on her imaginary adventures? Her artworks carry names of mountains, flowers, towns she’s visited. She offers leisurely walks, stories. You can read the same ones, or others. You decide.

After completing her first achievements on silk, Natacha works, during the 80’s, on paper with inks, aquarelles, gouaches... Could it be the amniotic fluid of her bubble? She manipulates shapes, papers, cuts out, plaits, folds, inviting us on a journey. On the Kii Pensinsula, for example, with paintings inspired by Chinese lacquers, manipulating paper like origami. At Asyut, which inspires work on volumes, paper sculptors embarking us on the Western bank of the Nile. Or in Ahvaz in Iran...

Digital journeys         

Fifty unique artworks, accomplished between 1995 and 2004, take Natacha down the Silk Road once more. In order to achieve these impressions, she dives into the act of creating with a computer. A thin line separates drawing and technology; she embarks us on a journey to the top of the Dapsang, between China and Pakistan, or on the Aral Sea between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

She never looks back. Where she used to work with matter, inks and paints, the digital world offers her shapes and textures, using a mouse. She discovers a real freedom, a total absence of constraints, fantastic colors.

She can stay there for hours, letting herself go, immersing herself with visual impressions, which she transcribes on her machine. A sort of cabinet of curiosities, filled with memories, photos, drawings and parts of drawings can be found on her computer.

Her artworks are now printed on other types of support: paper laminated on Alu Dibond... As well as on cards, which you can send across the world to divulge the extraordinary and mysterious world of Natacha Couvelaire.

Next Holidays
September 29th
  :  Rosh Hashana - start
October 1st
  :  Rosh Hashana - end
October 4th
  :  World Animal Day
October 6th
  :  Grandparents' Day
October 7th
  :  Chongyang Festival