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The evocative deities of sculptor Françoise Vergier

At the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire (Loir-et-Cher), from April until October, then in Saint-Etienne (Loire), from May to July, and now in Grignan (Drôme), until September , Françoise Vergier, who has been exhibiting little lately, is showing her work again. And this one is as surprising and singular today as when she began, in 1995, when she had presented at the Center Pompidou, in Paris, her sculptures, dedicated for the most part to the female body, in painted linden wood, naked often in inexplicable positions. The exhibition was strangely named “…yes I said yes, I don’t mind Yes”. We say to ourselves, retrospectively, that this was one of the harbingers of what appears today, a quarter of a century later, as obvious: women artists seizing on the representation of the body, hitherto subject as reserved for male artists. She states it unequivocally: “I know that my work is very feminine. I do not pass by the work or the look of the man. I am looking for an intact feminine, linked to life. »

Nothing is known in current art that can even remotely be compared to these sculptures.

In all three places, she shows heads, works produced in the last decade. Nothing is known in contemporary art that can even remotely be compared to these sculptures. These are, larger than life, enamelled and painted terracotta, adorned with beads strung on metal wires that describe curves, widen into collarettes and develop into hairstyles. Depending on the subjects, the heads have white, ochre-yellow, brown, green or red skin. They fix the viewer with their gray or pale blue eyes, or raise them to the sky. Landscapes are painted in black and white above the forehead or on the back of the neck. They may have a wolf around their eyes.

The strangest head of all, at Grignan, is surmounted by a kind of headdress where several more or less large mouths open and where curves of scarlet pearls unfold all around the lower part of the face. The recent work is titled The Impatience of the Goddess Nemesis, Greek mythological figure of divine justice and wrath. When we ask the artist about the multiplication of mouths, the explanation she gives is simple: “There are so many reasons to be angry and to demand justice today…” According to him, this creation process would be almost simple: “I have a vague idea, I start to go up, it continues then. »

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