Fabienne Verdier Crossing Signs, is one of the most anticipated programme in this years Le French May
festival, celebrating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China. The exhibition is one of the exciting programmes funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trusts HK$7.34-million donation. It is the third year that the Trust has been the major partner of this all-encompassing festival.
A prize-winning graduate from Toulouse Art School, Fabienne Verdier went to Sichuan to train with grand master calligraphers for almost a decade. It started out in 1984, when Verdier took the challenge to go to Sichuan as part of the student exchange programme benefiting from the official twinning papers between Toulouse and the city of Chongqing in Sichuan. She extended her stay for years to learn from masters who were casualties of the Cultural Revolution. Verdier became the only woman, and the only foreigner, to have been made a member of the National Calligraphers Association.
During her time in China, Verdier learned about the movement of the brush, and more importantly, the essence of Chinese painting, which is a spiritual quest beyond manual dexterity of beautiful writing. Her work is rooted in the teachings of Chinese calligraphy, but she undertook her analysis of all western contemporary painting, especially the semiology behind the work of the great French and American abstract painters.
She innovated a special system to work with immense Chinese ink brush made of 35 horse tails holding a reservoir of nearly sixty litres of ink. With this unique painting system, she created paintings of monumental-scale, that were both steeped in Chinese culture and a forerunner in western contemporary art.
Following a successful exhibition last year in Royal Museum of Brugges, in which Verdier has reinterpreted the works of great Flemish masters, Le French May brings an unprecedented retrospective exhibition of her work to Hong Kong.
Fabienne Verdier Crossing Signs exhibition take places at Hong Kong City Hall from 13 May to 8 June 2014. 40 large-scale paintings brought from around the world are being showcased, bringing audience a particular style of painting, which is abstract and inspired by calligraphy. The exhibition traces Verdiers career from her initial, classical calligraphy right through to the major works that have seen her receive international acclaim. There is also a movie display on site to show her unique way of painting using monstrous brushes she created.