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Villers-Bettnach Abbey

Exhibition Michèle Frank

at the Villers- Bettnach Abbey

“What singularizes art, writes Guy Scarpetta in his book Artifice, could be its capacity to arouse , simultaneously, an effect of joy and an effect of truth – even if this truth is the result of fiction, of artifice: to imply, as said Kundera, the ‘exploration’ of new lands, unsuspected aspects of existence, to which it alone gives entry.”

Never have museums been as visited, never have we spoken so much of inter-cultural life. The ‘here-and-now’ is no longer on the agenda. The melding of civilizations implies the knowledge of the essence which gives an identity to a people; their culture and their imagination. The constant effort of Totalitarian regimes to destroy them and to the failure in the long run of this unnatural ambition testifies amply to their essential value. The more violent the repression, the greater is the aspiration to this act of liberty which is creation; the greater is the desire also of those who only participate as spectators, readers, listeners to be aware of these manifestations.


We live in a world of anxiety, where fear of the material future, of illness, of the unknown, of the other is exacerbated by the media, where joy no longer has a place in daily life. Only organized tourism, where restricted to tourist ghettos we believe we have traveled in the illusion of discovering a different place, of which photos feed our dreams and our memories, seems to give us a means of escape. We are so imprisoned in our daily life; without end menaced by the catastrophes which our television screen spews forth, that there is no longer a place for dreaming, for a reality other than that which we devour through time. It is this other reality which opens the world of art to us. It is this other reality which is sought by the crowds who do not mind waiting for hours in the lines at museum doors. It is this reality which reconciles artists in front of a canvas or a blank page with life and which lets them open themselves to others who have taken the trouble to enter into their universe.

Creation requires a good deal of narcissism and also of courage to reveal to the eyes of this other who has the right to measure, to judge, to refuse this part of yourself – so subjective, so intimate, at times so hopeless. But it is the desire to communicate and to share which is stronger.

Let us hope that this miracle will happen in this place where magic is possible thanks to the enthusiasm and energy that the entire team at Bettn’art has deployed to giving it a soul.

When I am asked, “What do you paint?” I answer, “Dreams and the wind” and add to give a serious air to my answer “Pieces of space as if seen in a wide-angle lens.” But in reality, that is what I paint with large cuts of palate knife and rag. Branches which are entwined, secret places where one can hide and lose oneself. Soft places where sometimes everything is lost as if swept by the wind to escape the grayness. I think of the wind because I often think that my painting is without weight, but also because the wind carries you where it wishes and you have no responsibility in this voyage.

I walk in interior landscapes which seem untouched and roll themselves out at a wide angle with a brushstroke, with the stream of a dream, and take me there where I want to go. In pinning by fears and my emotions in a virgin space, I create a sort of surrealism which suits me, of which the colors give the tonality to my dreamlike monologues.

In the hope – of course – that they find an echo. It is also the way one writes, solitary and introspective adventure, which is nothing more than a call to dialogue as when a friend opens up his or her secrets and incites you to speak, avid as we are for the experience of others to feel less alone in this world so very individualized that the other can die in a neighboring apartment without our being aware.

I would have preferred to paint something else, Guernica for example, which denounces the unbearable. But I am too afraid of being unable to “comunicate”. Violence frightens me and I prefer being only a colorist giving to each person who wishes to see, placing personages, animals which are not visible at first sight but which reveal themselves to those who wish to accompany me in this other world.

Télécharger la plaquette de l’exposition à l’abbaye de Villers-Bettnach