“We wouldn’t mind the sun, if it didn’t set.”
Emily Dickinson

A starting point for Isabelle Duval is the dramatic void of meaning man is facing nowadays.
A poetic claim for a re-enchantment of nature and a re-evalution of how man relates to nature and, hereby, to his humanity, her work is inbetween a quest for transcendance and the longing for a dissolution of the ego in a greater entity.

Departing from her sense of wonder and respect for life, also that which we regard with dread or ignore, she uses living or changing matter to reflect the passage of time and the inevitability of decay and confronts the viewer with the beauty of life in its most modest expressions. ‘Why does one dare to strut about with necklaces made of shelves and not with cobwebs, with foxes’ furs and not with their entrails ?’ (J. Dubuffet)

Her work, whatever the medium used, always exhales a true lyricism. She is not afraid of baroque excesses and profusion, nor does she fear beauty, elegance and seduction; she also never hesitates to wield the imagery of the uncanny and even the grotesque.

Strange underwater worlds with an indefinable fairy atmosphere, painted with the most focussed precision and the most delicate attention; camouflage patterns of genitals and limbs that seem to go endlessly and aimlessly; attractive and revolting patterns indifferently but equally put next to one another; meat, bones and worms revamped with the greatest carefulness into real jewels; fragile objects sometimes made of the most peculiar materials; her works remain in some odd way unreachable like true fantasies, cold relics from another life, but still, they exhale warmth and sensuality and always emanate a sense of celebration and of loss, of force and of fragility.

Her work doesn’t imitate life; it is a true mimicry of life, simulating a life where the formless, the rot and the ugly are finally rehabilitated. It is an attempt not to forget our primordial ties with the beautiful intricacies and mysteries of the natural world, the very ‘correspondences’ of Baudelaire’s poem, this genuine experience which probably is the one and only ‘crises-proof’ one.


Isabelle Duval © 2016