If you travel through Switzerland, don’t miss the exhibition Painting Grounds – Painting with ochre!
This exhibition at the Boléro Gallery in Versoix, in the Canton of Geneva in Switzerland, highlights artists from radically different cultural backgrounds including Australia, Italy, Switzerland, China and France. It reveals the great artistic diversity produced by the artist’s hand, ochre and paper.
The exhibition presents one work by each of the 24 artists who took part in the Painting Grounds project: 18 large-size paintings made on ARCHES® Aquarelle 640 gsm 101.6 x 152.4 cm and six triptychs painted on “porcelain paper”. This is a mix of paper pulp and porcelain powder which has been dried in thin sheets and hardened by baking.
The exhibition is the result of a partnership between the Dialogue Céramique association and ARCHES®.
The Painting Grounds project
The Painting Grounds project was created for the “Dialogue Céramique” association by Claude Albana Presset, ceramist, and Louk Vreeswijk, filmmaker and anthropologist.
Painting Grounds looks into the use of the mineral ochre in painting. It unites artists from radically different cultural backgrounds in celebrating the universality of the artistic experience while showing the diversity that can be obtained from the same basic pigment and the same support, ARCHES® paper.
Aboriginal artists from Australia have, therefore, painted with their ancestral ochre colours on ARCHES® Aquarelle paper. This is a support which may be foreign to their culture but which, through its robustness and durability, is reminiscent of the eucalyptus bark which is a traditional support for Aboriginal paintings in Northern Australia. Its finely granulated surface also evokes the sandy ground on which desert Aborigines traditionally traced their symbolic designs.
Other artists, accustomed to more modern pigments, were obliged to re-appropriate natural ochre for the project.
Visit of the Exhibit Painting Grounds – Painting with ochre! with Claude Presset, President of Dialogue Céramique
A film, a book, an exhibition
The collective imagination of Australian Aborigines, with its territorial, cultural, historical and sacred dimensions, is called “dreamtime”. It finds artistic expression essentially in painting, with colours taken from the earth, from ochre.
Painting Grounds is a richly illustrated book which devotes several pages to each of the 24 artists. It outlines the themes of the project, namely the use of ochre in painting by Australian Aborigines and by European artists, the traditional supports of Aboriginal painting, the underlying support of the project, ARCHES® paper, together with an additional support, “porcelain paper”.
The film offers an insight into the creative processes of these artists who are so culturally different. It takes us through the arid lands of the Australian Central Desert where Aboriginal artists collect ochre pigments and then transform them into a variety of colours, to two Aboriginal Art Centres, and then, in Europe, to the Roussillon Conservatoires des Ocres, the historical Lubéron ochre quarries in France and to some of the artists’ studios. Along the way, we learn about the qualities of ARCHES® paper and discover the “porcelain paper” support.
The book together with the DVD (bilingual French/English edition, Silvana Editoriale Editions) will soon be available for sale.
For those who could not make it to Switzerland, the exhibition Painting Grounds – Painting with ochre! will be on again in 2022 at the Ecomuseum of ochre at Roussillon in France.