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Originally from La Rochelle, Valérie Francisque was born into a family of artists and was very quickly attracted to painting. At just 15 years of age, she took lessons in La Rochelle. She practised oils, took up acrylics and honed her charcoal and red-chalk drawing technique. She then went to live in Germany and England. When she returned to France in 1992, following brief stays in Toulouse and Paris, she attended the School of Fine Arts in Cherbourg and discovered contemporary art. From 2002 to 2005 she lived in Japan, where she learnt calligraphy and stained-glass art alongside experienced masters. She moved back to Normandy yet continued to travel extensively. Her approach to life and art changed enormously as a result. She exhibited her work wherever she went.
After experimenting with a conceptual approach as part of her academic training, Valérie Francisque decided to adopt a fresh and very free vision of nature. In the manner of German Neo-Expressionism, she emphasised colour; she highlighted shapes by radically stylising them following the example of New Subjectivity, and imbued her paintings with the spirit of Japanese art, which sublimates objects in order to capture their essence. Her unique paintings reflect a figurative style that breathes sensitivity, and represent a labyrinth that the painter invites us to explore and decode . . . as though an invitation to resolve life’s enigma. “Art does not reproduce what we see, rather, it makes us see,” wrote Paul Klee. This statement applies perfectly to Valérie Francisque, who constantly seeks to convey feelings in her creations and uses every means to achieve this. The compositions are dynamic. The sketch is always present, often outlined, and at times resembles colourful calligraphy, which in turn is punctuated with dots and words. The flat tints in bright, warm and contrasting colours highlight faux naïf motifs of poetic inspiration, which complement a harmonious dialogue between symbolic birds, butterflies, fish and human figures. Beyond mere representations, Valérie Francisque draws us into her spiritual world by transcribing her poems into minimalist artworks. In a celebration of words, these convey the subject’s spirituality not only to enlighten the viewer but also to spellbind them.
As a painter-poet, Valérie Francisque appeals through the power of her rare and engaging artwork. By this original means, she reveals a tangible universe-turned-metaphor and a metaphysical world that asks the artist’s existential questions.
Francine BUNEL-MALRAS, Historian of Art