Paintings 2000-2020
Introduction Annie Dubernard Laurent

Editorial coordination:

Benoit Delplanque (TIMKAT)
Annie Dubernard Laurent
Elizabeth Leith (English version)

Illustrated book with texts and contributions
240 pages

September 2020

See the book:



"Life and death in Venice"

By Annie Dubernard Laurent

Art Historian
PhD in Comparative Literature
Professor at University

Foreword to the 2000-2020 monography
(June 2020)

"The title of this introduction, chosen by Violaine, corresponds exactly to the dual aspect of her vision in her working process.
Life, Death. But why in Venice?
Before answering this question we should first consider what the work reveals about life. What strikes us immediately is the omnipresence of water.
"Water, Water everywhere" as the English poet Coleridge says (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in Lyrical Ballads, 1798). Indeed water here springs up in a poetical form. Life is represented by fluids and by what Violaine calls her Metamorphoses. Life flows like a river, ever moving, ever transformed, the symbol of continuity and rebirths…But such a river would  be devoid of life if it did not now and then put an end to this constant agitation and take time to relax in pools and ponds where waterlilies are born and float, making the presence of life manifest.
Here Violaine, who obviously has Monet in mind, uses a different medium, that of Petri dishes, very different from the medium of the painter of Giverny. Her scientific background ever present in her mind, she resorts to these transparent cylindrical dishes used by biologists for the culture of micro organisms.  These dishes, symbols of life looking so similar to water lilies will be kept floating on a pond for several weeks. Is this an expression of joy? One dare not say so. However, it is a hymn to the beauty of the world, like her Hanging Gardens.
So far we have mentioned rivers, streams and ponds (Violaine's first name by the way is that of a small river), but what about the sea? Is it "a sea of troubles" as in Hamlet or conversely, according to Baudelaire, "the sea, the vast sea", the sea which "consoles our labors" (Moesta et errabunda, Spleen et Ideal, 1857). Are we not facing the other side of life here? Death? Water as a tomb…Shakespeare's Ophelia dying in a pond as in Millais' painting?  Death as in so many romantic pictures of shipwrecks?
This is where Violaine's alternative vision of water appears. The dark aspect of water. Indeed death often overshadows the rest, often stemming the peaceful flow, even the turmoil of water in the process of metamorphosis. Fate is here, bearing down on our destinies. Wars, destruction, misery, epidemics, the end of civilisations, shipwrecked people. The sea becomes a shroud which, far from consoling our labors, drowns us with a long wail, with no possible return to any shore. In that respect the Abbey of Vertheuil is the ideal place to expose this misery: the cold floor of the Abbey on which her paintings lie is the best resting place for those deadly crossings. With some hope left nevertheless.
Palmyra and its ruins once fascinated visitors like Léon de Laborde. But Palmyra has now turned into ruins on top of ruins, made visible here through the process of painting over photography, and has thus become the symbol of human fragility, not to say folly.
We may conclude that these two visions coexist in the artist's work.
But what about Venice? Why focus the idea of life and death in Venice?
Death in Venice. Everyone knows Thomas Mann' s novel Der Tod in Venedig published in 1912, Visconti's film (1971), and Benjamin Brittens's Opera (1973).
Venice and cholera. Venice and its baleful charm, Venice and its masks during Carnival, a unique example of decadent beauty with its lights and colours which have obsessed painters since the Renaissance. The artist, like many others, has fallen under its the spell all along throughout her numerous visits to this unique city. But another figure drew her attention, this other magician, Turner (1775-1851). During her frequent visits to the Clore Gallery she fell in love with this romantic genius who stayed thee times in the City of the Doges.
She could not visit the 2003/2004 exhibition Turner and Venice in Paris but she has studied all the catalogues published since 2002. Turner and Marden (London 2002), Turner and le Lorrain (Nancy 2003), Turner-Whistler-Monet (Paris 2004/2005), Turner et la couleur (Aix-en Provence 2018). But what above all left the greatest impression on her was her visit to the Tate to see the Late Turner exhibition (2014/ 2015). Indeed it is in his last works that Turner, completely freed from Claude Lorrain's influence, devoted himself, in his paintings and above all in his watercolours,  to the representation on natural elements, water, wind, rain, mist and fog, whirling vapours and even smoke, and sun, the setting sun. In brief in his last works, and this is what appeals to Violaine, Turner shifted from what has been a little too rashly called Impressionism, whose father he would supposedly have been before the term was coined, to abstraction. This is where Violaine, an abstract painter, finds her twofold inspiration. A city with a decadent charm, poisonous beauty, albeit magical.
In her work, abstract pictures reflect this bipolar vision of life and death. To her, Venice is the symbol of this wavering duality between colour and black, the movement of water and the threat of an impending catastrophe, but always with the idea that a renaissance is possible.  We can think for example, of the Great Plague of 1629, which was the reason for building the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, and of the marvellous paintings of Titian and Tintoretto (the Miracle of the Wedding of Cana). Moreover, blue, a symbol of water and life, is often the most prominent colour in her work, including her "Piccola Veduta" of the Basilica.
Finally, what about light, so conspicuous in Turner. The light of Venice too. Perhaps in her future works Violaine too will make the choice of  light, all light, nothing but light, were it only the reddish light of the setting sun on the sleeping waters of the Laguna, or the last rays of light over Venice, the red city, where, as the poet Musset says, "no boat is moving, not a single fisherman is in the water".


Dixième rencontre avec les Artistes


December 2019

Retrospective book of 2017-2019 exhibitions and acquisitions by

the Patronage and Charity Department of
de OFI ASSET Management

Biography and presentation of the works acquired by the firm's patronage



"LE BLEU" ("Blue")

September- October 2019

By Anne-Claire SIMON




"L'éclat du bleu" ("The glow of blue")
Nuance et essence du bleu en littérature, en art et dans la société contemporaine


September 2019

Under the direction of Geneviève Vilnet

 Presentation in Anne-Claire SIMON's contribution




"Water canvases, #1, Blue"

By Anne-Claire SIMON
Gallerist (Paris)

Catalogue release during the group show "BLUE" (16 pages)

16 rue Guénégaud 75006 Paris

3 - 23 June 2019

"In this new series of very large formats, Violaine Vieillefond continues the reflection on Water, and imagine the influence of the color in its relation to the element. She makes the pigment interact with the binder in a water dilution process.
Each component is equally considered, to explore the limits of the color blue, from its lighter and most watery nuances to its darkest and more intense ones.
The artist chose very large formats to represent more freely the immensity and the richness of a body of water, to be able to apprehend its mysteries and deepest essence.
The free-standing canvases echo the movement of fluids, carried by the other elements of Nature, to which water in associated – notably by certain colors: blue, white, grey etc.
It is also the chosen color palette for Toiles d’eau, to capture the fluctuations of the element.
The color is conducted by the aqueous injections and the variations of the free-standing medium, recreating the instinctive movement of water in its natural habitat.
For Turquoise to Prussian blue, the artist transports us from the equatorial beaches, where you can read the heat in the clarity of the water, to the ocean of the Great North, so dark and deep, simultaneously raising ecological problematics of respect of this vital element 

Anne-Claire SIMON.


Violaine Dubernard Laurent



by Maryse SAVALLE
Maryse SAVALLE is an art historian, writer, art critic for the Eugene DELACROIX 's Friends' Society Report

Text for the exhibition

June 5-16 2018
For centuries our imagination, from Du Bellay's Regrets to Goethe's Roman Elegies, has associated the idea of ruin to that of a slow destruction of time. And for centuries painters have adorned their landscapes with "fabrics", endlessly reproducing views of Rome, Pompeii and Athens.
Like many artists of the past, Violaine Vieillefond embarks on a kind of "Grand Tour". She was likewise fascinated by Italy, Greece with their temples, columns, broken down walls and ageless stone slabs of ways leading somewhere else, to some other world emerging from the past.
Violaine, however,  lives in the Twenty-first  century, and so not only does she bear in mind, like many others,  the troubled memory of a more recent past, from the trenches of the First Word War to the destruction of Palmyra, but also, beyond those deadly conflicts, the consciousness of   the slow, insidious disappearance under our eyes of our culture, as Valery had foreseen, and,  what  is more, that of our environment, of our universe of human beings.
Is this blue cascade, corresponding to  Arizona Dream III, really the Temple of Delphi, with its mineral or vegetal outgrowth whose invading turquoise does not obliterate the purple colour of the rocks?
Which Athenian landscape is drowned in red as if blood was streaming down the eyes of the onlooker?
On the other side another Arizonian dream (II) shows up, steeped in a blue haze, the same nuance of blue as in the landscape of Delphi. Close by a large polychrome canvas, Arizona Dream I seems to reverberate on the wall. Here the natural  landscape is no longer overshadowed, hidden or destroyed by some sort of cataclysm, but sublimated by a dream-like vision of soft, albeit flamboyant colours. 
Visions of a living dream. The old antique dream come to life again on the photos of Gods and Goddesses. Preserved images caught sight of under a coat of still water thanks to the technique of rubbing, of dampening paper and superimpositions which do not alter the pure beauty of faces. This is  definitely contrasting with the series in "plexiglass" entitled "the Ruins of Athens",  carved frescoes of warriors visible only in fragments, here a vague profile, there a helmet, a horse's head captured in the heart of a fierce battle with violent gesticulations  in the midst of a blinding light and vertigo of nothingness. Everything is covered with ashes, evincing the artist's remembrance of Missolonghi by Delacroix
Opposite this, other warriors as appear in Minoan and Mycenaean paintings seem less tragic owing to the artist's resort to her previous use of warm colours. One is fascinated by an extraordinary eye suddenly springing up in the light above the darkness of centuries. What is the eye looking at? wonders the spectator. The Infinite? Death? Or Eternity which defies time, destruction or  even worse as can be seen in the three plexiglass works entitled "Coming to Life Again, Palmyra" (I, II, III ),  achieved after photographs taken twenty years before Daesh came and ransacked the place in its folly. Everyone will see whatever he or she wants to see in these surging waves and smokes, these sudden outgrowths of strange lichens but he will also see the memory, the dream, the everlasting beauty of the world.
"The European Hamlet watches millions of ghosts" Valéry wrote in his world famous letter opening the "Crisis of the Spirit". Today this Hamlet is maybe first and foremost the artist, he who not only conjures up the ghosts - the vestiges of our consciousness-, but who also creates, incessantly, whatever the difficulties.

(Maryse Savalle)



Press release


March 29 th - April 7 th 2018
25 rue de Seine
75006 Paris

March 27 th - May 4 th 2018
15 avenue Montaigne
75008 Paris



Medoc, Bordeaux, France

Solo exhibition
July 7th - September 3rd 2017


-> Return on the the exhibition
a film by the town hall of Vertheuil:

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"A very subtle manifesto by Violaine Vieillefond"

August 2017
in Le Journal du Medoc

Text for the exhibition
(Medoc, Bordeaux)
July 7th - September 3rd 2017

"Our blue planet, so beautiful when seen from space, owes its name to the presence of water, an essential element of life. But water becomes rare The Sahel  extends its territory every year in Africa, the Dead Sea into which  the river Jordan which irrigates cultures flows, has dramatically lowered this last decade. Closer to us, this summer in France, as is now the case every year, more than fifty counties are under the obligation of restricting the use of water.
Conversely the level of water in some islands of the South Pacific rises dangerously owing to the disturbances  of the global climate. As for the migrants fleeing on frail craft they often meet with an ill fate. Water is both the master of life and an instrument of death....a paradox which has inspired Violaine who was an engineer specialising in the mechanics of fluids before she became a painter.
She installed her works, specially created for the place,  in the beautiful spacious rooms  of Vertheuil Abbey in Medoc . She assembled them under the title of "Water memories". She is so sweet, Violaine, that it is hard to realize how obstinate she can be, too !  True her "Suspended  Gardens" , calling to mind the Hanging Gardens  of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of Antiquity, express nuances of purple pink or shades of brown and green put on by vegetation according to the four seasons - the magnificence and glory of a by-gone Orient, past master in the art of irrigation.  But the choice Violaine makes of this part of the world where tensions are  also "suspended" to, that is,  depend on  the good will of men is significant. The same with "Tout autour il y a le gouffre ( "All around is the Abyss") , an expression drawn from  Spielberg's Schindler's List: a dark and gloomy, awe-inspiring liquid universe on which the tiny red spot of the boat  seems to be floating. Will the spot board on  the banks of hope or on the dreary  shores of the realm of death whose frontier is the infernal river Styx?
All around, steles, the colour of stone, representing victims, rest on the bare  ground . And nothing seems to be able to stop this funerary procession. One of them, placed on an easel, has a special treatment: it is dedicated to Aylan Kurdi, the little Syrian boy whose gruesome photograph has made the front pages of all daily newspapers. With its mix of the red of life and the sombre blue of the sea it evokes she apex of injustice, the death of a child.
The money collected  by the sale of this moving and symbolic work will go, in the form of a tombola , to the children supported by Unicef
The story would not be complete if you were not told that Violaine achieved her outstanding work by leaving water find its way on pigments set on paper , which is more fragile than canvas, thus associating art and memory. It can be discovered  in this place which is filled with spirituality, until the end of August."

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"Water memories"

by Dominique BARRET
August 2017
in Le Journal du Medoc

Text for the exhibition
(Medoc, Bordeaux)
July 7th - September 3rd 2017 

A red spot in the middle of an ocean of blue and black sheets of paper called "All around is the Abyss" (Thirty sheets of paintings lying along 12 metres  on the cold tiled floor of the Gallery downstairs) is what catches your eye first,. This is one of six series created for this place by Violaine Vieillefond whose work is at the crossroads of her scientific career, her artistic experience  and a social awareness which permeates all her work. Here water  is the basic element, the heart of everything. Water of life, water of death.
On the first floor upstairs the fifty-two panels (one for every week) called "Suspended Gardens" are related to the rhythm and balance of seasons,  to the power and riches of nature at the heart of geo-political feuds,  and to the ambivalent relationship between humanity and nature. Beware of the fits of anger of the climate which throws hordes of  refugees out to sea! The aim of Descartes was to "make us the masters and possessors of nature". Not in the vain sense of ruling nature, but of better understanding its mechanism in order  to act on it while realizing it cannot be dominated..  Other scourges  than climatic changes bring hosts of migrants out to sea . In "En chair et en eau (" In flesh and water")  those migrants fill three parts  of the series, two hanging on walls and  one lying on the ground with these paintings set like steles paying homage  to the thousands of victims of shipwreck. One cannot feel indifferent while wandering in this place meant for introspection.
A blue and red triptych is here to call up to our memory, which is prone to forget horror, the story of Aylan Kurdi the little Syrian boy  of Turkish origin aged 3 who was drowned and whose body was found on the beach of Bodrum in Turkey on September 2nd 2015.  The little boy  whose photograph started a  polemic at that time lost his life as well as   Galip, his elder brother of 5 and his mother Rehan when their boat capsized the middle of the Aegean Sea in the night of September 2. Only the father, Abdullah Kurdi, survived. The family was supposed to reach the Greek island of Kos, the gate to Europe for thousands of migrants since January 2015.
50% of Violaine Viellefond's  works exhibited and on sale here at Vertheuil Abbey will go Unicef"

Catalogs of works exhibited 20 pages:


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Here comes a very nice duet orchestered by Audrey Marty's gallery in Saint Malo, showing two visions of landscape:
Boudin inspired skies, seeming to free us from earthly tempests, of Claude Francheteau (born in 1971),  confronted to the intimate abysses of Violaine Vieillefond (born in 1970)

"Particularly pleasing is the appearance of space, the space in between which is often impossible to capture, but which
Violaine Vieillefond has managed to portray by her use of colour, giving rise to a fluid and colourful  world which we seem to navigate as if it were inside a part of ourselves.
By eliminating the boundaries of inside and outside, her “Suspended Gardens” ( 2016) remind us of the ancient techniques of the Japanese masters.

Equally impressive is the fact that she brings to life structures which seem almost visceral in her 2016 work in progress “ All around lies the gulf...” 
in which the works on display bring in to question where and what we are.... A whirlpool of matter which appears to be both fluid and liberating a certain spirituality from its power."

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L'Officiel des Galeries & Musées à propos de l'exposition 


Text for the exhibition
March 24th - May 14th 2016
25 rue de Penthièvre
75008 Paris 

From March 24th until May 14th, Teodora Gallery is showing the paintings of Violaine Vieillefond in the exhibition named "renaissance(s)".
Renaissance(s) follows another inspiring journey in Italy.
Colrs are powerful, and inhabit the canvas in an uncatchable way, motion or motionless?
Bright roses, rough golden reflections, deep and mysterious blues ... which lead us to an extatic contemplation of a painting altogether instincutal as well as sensitive.

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Catalog 16 pages:

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by Maryse SAVALLE
January 2016

Maryse SAVALLE is an art historian, writer, art critic for the Eugene DELACROIX 's Friends' Society Report

Text for the exhibition
March 24th - May 14th 2016
25 rue de Penthièvre
75008 Paris 
Violaine's paintings seem to have soared from the bowls of sundrenched fountains and also from present springtime and springtimes long past which have nurtured the trunks of venerable trees.
Paintings inspired by a journey: long vistas of palace façades and of colonnades endlessly unfolding under a magnificent sky, leading us to faraway landscapes,
too distant for the  dazzled eyes of the artist. 
But the paintings assert themselves suddenly in this unstable space, unsubstantial yet direct, with their feverish pinks and mystical blues.
Covered with the gold dust of old masters,  nature trembles and quivers.
It is a pulsing flow, the formless  breath of desire fleeing our eager eyes; an intangible form which is light dissolving stones,  waves of foam under a dazzling sky accompanied by children's cries. Yet what would the sky represent without space or wind, without the fluttering of wings, without the radiance of rivers (streams? mais j'aime l'alliteration!) or the slow currents that reflect leaves, mosses and the bark of lofty trees and the angels' hair dancing under the mirrors like fronds of seaweed twirling round the eyes of a dreamer?
We rediscover the long gone paths of legendary forests  and their metamorphoses from dawn to dusk.

The painting is like an arch, not Matisse's window which opened onto an intoxicated world, but a door leading to an invisible temple, whose vaults amplify the murmur of the meandering streams that cross them; where petals set fire to the snow of the white backgrounds, now smooth,  now rippled, in which substance,  crisscrossed with subtle furrows,  is liberated and frolics freely among  the spots and curves of  the liquid paints, green, turquoise, pink and sometimes even orange: the flamboyant colour of icons and of childhood revivified which disintegrates the sun with its silver wings. 

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Catalog 16 pages:

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by Maryse SAVALLE
March 2014

Maryse SAVALLE is an art historian, writer, art critic for the Eugene DELACROIX 's Friends' Society Report

Text for the exhibition
February 5th - March 7th 2015

"The silence of painting is its own music.The music of Vilolaine Vieillefond's painting has its specific quality. It is a silence without interference (of any kind), the silence of water, lakes and open spaces.
She herself says she never listens to music while she paints, so as to try and find her own music and capture the particular sound which runs from one canvas to another according to its own inner momemtum. These canvases are not monochromatic but "unichromatic" if we may use this neologism -subtle nuances or variations around one colour, around one basic sound.
These vibrant surfaces are the particular expression of this silence of painting, slow or less slow, low or high.
One and the same movement gives life to these canvases, in the same way as an underground river surges here and there,  letting the sky be reflected in it, then losing itself in the middle of a meadow which is swarming with primitive life, something between amoeba, shell or leaf.
These are large green canvases,  blue lagoons. Blue, a cold colour, here turns into the dazzling infinity of  ultramarine. Not Klein's blue, but Violaine's blue- the twilight azure of the hot seas caught in the turmoil of sea-weeds and rocks almost black, visible just one moment before plunging into the wave.
Where red is present, it is a toned down carmine embroidered with a black thread that is fluid like the water which is suddenly imprisoned in the canvas. Pink is here too, dispersed in small squares stuck like petals in a herbarium, but belonging to a fresh flower...
This offers a baffling contrast with  her dark pictures, dark blue abysses, extinct volcanoes or destroyed cities reduced to cold ashes.
This chaotic vortex between two worlds is a homage to Pierre Soulages, one of Violaine Vieillefond's favorite masters. But the threads of the canvas here are circular, calling to mind the section  of a fossilized  felled tree, in which light can still send some scattered rays like  fragments of mica. Here is the  mysterious matter of a life which no longer , or not yet, belongs to us, like sediments lying for ever at the bottom of a river  where time has stopped
The acrylic ink on the paper is always black but it winds into arabesques through the pure light of the red.
The light can also let through infinite shades of silvery grey, the mellow light of a moon-lit cloud, so vaporous that it could take you skywards to those ancient mythological ceilings, without Zephyr, winged cart or doves. But painting, true painting, defies centuries."

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Catalog 20 pages:

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by Bernard POINT
November 2013

Bernard POINT was a member of the DRAWING NOW committee until 2014,
Creator and director the Gennevilliers School of Fine Arts and its Edouard Manet Gallery, from 1968 to 2002

Preface to the catalogue of the exhibition at 
ENSTA ParisTech (Palaiseau, Paris-Saclay University)
December 2013 - February 2014
Once again visiting Violaine Vieillefond's studio metamorphoses, transforms my numerous sensations, leading me along the floating stream of her works  which I discover more profoundly. Thanks to the photographic documents to be found shortly here, the artist plunges me into a world where opposite approaches meet: rigorous architecture and pictorial fluidity.
I discover a great hall where I recognize the diptych bursting out with the black of an acrylic pool which branches out into corresponding splashes. This was the case in the preceding exhibition at the "pavillon de l'eau" where it used to hang side by side with two canvases showing the light cloudy blueness of the sky against a white background,  paradoxically turning into an ocean of stormy waves. It is not just a matter of chance if I recognize the same approach of a hanging technique which violently contrasts with the rigorous horizontal geometry of the supporting wall. The way these works are lined up according to their vertical or horizontal forms and  hanging symmetrically  on both sides of the diptych allows  these forms to move and dance under the imposing austerity of the architecture of the building, albeit illuminated by the light which filters through the glass roof.
On another wall but now located above a concrete balcony, Violaine reveals to my sight two large square pictures , in reality four vertical paintings on which a gossamer graphic design  seems to be moving about.  One of these squares formed by two twin rectangles shows a cold, dark blue matter as well as hot, colourful spots disseminated here and there, while retaining, paradoxically again, their reddish brilliance. Next to this square, another one,  also made of two vertical parts,  reveals the greenness and bluishness of  forms which seem to be floating diagonally, run through however by filaments  that are excited  by the virgin whiteness tumultuously  inscribed on top of the surface - not to mention the other virginity,  that of the supporting canvas, still alive , since safe from assault in the lower and upper angles.
Further away in a low-ceilinged room, the artist has selected a group of works which give out  a subdued red light in harmony with a more intimate space encumbered with tables and chairs making encounters and conversation easier. In another place Violaine opts for a flowing suite suggesting the softness of material in  a cosy salon and the  precious moment intent on  reading, and to hang large vertical diptyches conversing with each other, one with its warm deep red, the other with the infinite blackness of space, thus drawing apart two ways of breathing and meditating.
Closer to the window panes opening out on a  fairly vegetal space, here is a new painting responding to this dialogue by criss-crossing, in an orderly or disorderly way, a graphic gesticulation mixing clear and dark, hot and cold. Again, under these balconies forming  an austere frame in the large hall, small-sized works, all alike, rigorously framed in natural wood, become real harbours whose light, fluid like the sea,  punctuates the stiff repetitive horizontality of the wall structure.
To my mind these latest discoveries concerning the "METAMORPHOSE DES FLUIDS" seem to come to a close, leaving doors open however. Indeed I think I have reached the end of my imaginary route when I  make two works converse, black and white, one of which introduces an explosion  of light against an obscure background while the other remains fundamentally white so as the better to make its floating black forms dance. Once again I can ask myself questions without obtaining any definite answer, but at least these questions may help to transform, metamorphose the clouds  of my imagination into  something more solid and more creative. My mind floats between the horizontal and the vertical while mentally putting down on the ground these "white water lilies" created by Violaine, and putting up a wall calling up a liquid world giving life to poetical lilies.
At this very moment I hear that a short-lived installation  will take place on the ground of  this great hall. For some twelve days, in the heart of the present exhibition  the artist literally throws down " LE PARADIGME DU NENUPHAR". It is in fact a huge agglomeration of Petri dishes , all loaded with pictorial matter,  similar to  those exhibited at the "Pavillon de l'eau" which seem to have given a paradigmatic example, being the fruit of a  deep mature reflection. Nevertheless it combines here with an archipelago of hot flamboyant forms which, once more paradoxically,  are imprisoned inside cold sea shores which seem geographically to help keep these islets of light afloat. I stand in the midst of all these hanging pictures and have a dream: flying skywards to have a bird's eye view of this pictorial  cartography which Violaine Vieillefond has chosen to create in order to symbolise this " METAMORPHOSES OF FLUIDS"

Catalog 12 pages:

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by Bernard POINT
November 2013

Bernard POINT was a member of the DRAWING NOW committee until 2014,
Creator and director the Gennevilliers School of Fine Arts and its Edouard Manet Gallery, from 1968 to 2002

Preface to the catalogue of the exhibition at
February 2014
"After getting much pleasure out of sailing from one of  Violaine Vieillefond's "Metamophoses of Fluids" to another,  I now stop and rest in the shade of her new pictorial forms which, albeit called "Shadows", strike me as being definitely real forms all along the way.  I immerse myself mentally in the heart of this "ARTCUBE" the better to absorb what this cubic space will fill itself with, while these  forms, dark, immaterial, indefinable and  being  as they are barely suggested  by their moving shadows , make me feel strange.
 In the heart of the geometrical structure of this luminous square, I feel like being trapped inside the swirl of dark forms spontaneously gesticulating in most paintings.
Paradoxically, close to an opening onto a green yard, Violaine lets me see a light on a canvas  thus offering a contrast with its neighbours, but at the same time, the pictorial value of these neighbours is enhanced, the darkness of their bodies more dense and vivid.
While wandering about the cube, I lose no notion of its architectural rigor but enjoy a kind of bodily breathing. On either side of a showcase two large vertical canvases bring in a bit  of vegetal colour thus endowing  the urban decor between them  with a sort of atmospheric,  magic dimension, operated by a human hand.
Leaving this square space means penetrating into it by climbing up a helical staircase delineating the vertical axis of the cube. Before walls traditionally built of  buhrstone  are hanging works in black and white on papers which Violaine has decided to give life to. In this way she knows how to levitate  the foundation of this heavy historical architecture. A set of three acrylic works on paper rising as high as 1.73 m displays  a dance of subtle spots that appear to me like strange animals having fun fighting each other. By arousing so many questions considering this wonderful dance,  I feel part of the floating weightlessness of the works
Over another wall, small monotypes made principally of ink on paper remain proudly stable thanks to a large use of ink in forms which help me penetrate meditatively into the very heart of their dense matter and place me in the very depths of this ARTCUBE,  then make me float again in the midst of those multifarious, magnificent "SHADOWS OF  FORMS"."

Catalog 16 pages:

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Translated from the article in AZART Magazine
by Molly MINE

March-April 2013

" Trained as an engineer, this young artist has found her inspiration
in the extraordinary meanders of the Universe, whether macro or microscopic.
In her paintings and installations, she stages  metaphors of life in her metamorphoses.

Violaine Vieillefond somehow cultivates her roots. This culture has nothing to do with roots of an exotic nature as generations of painters have sometimes fed on at the expense of authenticity. Hers are embedded in her personal, and…universal history. Her scientific studies, a “must” somehow in  her family tradition,  led her after exacting prep years/years of preparation at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand , to obtain a diploma in engineering at ENSTA (Ecole Nationale des Techniques avancées). But she soon abandoned the laboratory for the studio after taking courses in Art History and obtaining a degree at Paris Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Discovery of microscopic or macroscopic landscapes
The young woman sees no contradiction in this.  She has found visual nourishment  while observing those strange territories onto  which scientific exploration opens out. Just as is the case with many scientists, the discovery of the microscopic or macroscopic landscapes extracted from the human body, born from the stars or issuing  from  the projections of particles or combining into molecules,  make up the basis of an essential questioning. There is not a great difference between the working process of a scientist and that of an artist.
The picture she constantly refers to is Gauguin’s masterpiece:  Where do we come from, Who are we, Where are we going? This in her opinion sums up the whole question of the human condition. What would the picture, painted as it was with the possibilities Gauguin had at hand in his day, be like nowadays?

This questioning, says Violaine, lies at the heart of her work, because “painting places us right in front of this interrogation”. Which means in front of  the essential. In her studio in Vitry-sur-Seine the young artist puts into practice one  of  Democritus’ teachings which no scholar, however modest, would deny,: “ All that exists is the fruit of chance and necessity”

Original matter
She first /produced  paintings painted in oils then turned to acrylic which she preferred. This change of medium led her to a form of abstraction. She lays down her canvas on the floor pouring out water, since for her “original matter is fluid. It is the womb in which the pristine accident generates a series of necessities”. It is on this moving surface that, without waiting for it to dry, she pours down streams of colour as a volcano spills lava. “It all goes very quickly” she says “It flows around in all directions. Forms surge up but sometimes they can’t be stopped and they simply vanish! Even if the artist intervenes to guide it, the flow is almost indomitable.
For Violaine Vieillefond. these wanderings call to mind  a biological universe. The latter too is made up of encounters and  fadings. In her work, drawing has no place, not even an early sketch . Only colour  can beget something. It is so to speak experimental: “I like this ephemeral, fleeting aspect one has to play with.. temporality is there but it is out of control.” Hence the risk, one is never sure of the result. “You can’t control everything” she admits. “Sometimes the conflict between pure hazard and the calculated gesture cannot be solved. In this case the work, which is disappointing, is doomed to destruction”. /In this case the work is disappointing and doomed to destruction.
Fascinated by this, the artist is thinking of making a video recording which would make it possible to capture the memory of that fleeting moment of life and leave a trace of what occurred at that moment in the secrecy of her studio, in order to make it visible to the spectator. She deems it very interesting indeed to show the modus operandi of her creations.
The artist associates her colours to different forms of universe. With the reds, you are inside a body, inside a cell or in a biological world. Blue is the colour of water or even underwater, a world in which the vegetal and the celestial meet. Black and white, which she is particularly fond of, are less related to the colours of nature. Possibly they are associated with the cosmos and with space. Perhaps also this is a way for her to assert her will to escape from areas too often associated with the organic order or the vegetal world. She admits she appreciates the vigour of black and white not for their graphic qualities but because “you get a different quality of light”.
Indeed in all her pictures, whatever the dominant colour, red, blue, or black and white, V.V. succeeds , through colour precisely, in suggesting the dimension at once spatial and temporal. In one picture you think you are immersed /submerged in a forest of seaweed at the bottom of the sea. In another, you think you have embarked on a journey into the human brain. In yet another, you think you are observing the mutations of  an original cell in a microscope   if you have not been  whizzed onto another planet from where you can admire  the universe with new glasses!   V.V. has the knack of seizing what is ephemeral in what is particularly difficult to catch hold of : the metamorphoses which preside over the sudden appearance of life.

What comes just before the beginning of life
It is certainly not a matter of chance if one of her recent installations is realized on “Petri dishes”, these shallow glass or plastic cylindrical lidded plates that biologists use to culture  micro-organisms, bacteria and even embryos. To the artist it is like paying homage to “the moment just before the beginning of life”. But these painted structures intended to give relief to her painting “give life to what is not yet alive”, in order to abolish all frontiers between the infinitely small and the infinitely large. Whether they are floating on the surface of a pond hanging from a wall or suspended in a gallery, their significance is quite different: they may be water lilies, elementary particles or asteroids. Violaine’s practice, which is essentially metaphorical, brings us to consider that life is infinite, and to understand that the dimension of space can be appraised with different scales. “Painting makes it possible to perceive this ambiguity”. The abolition of limits and frontiers as shown by Violaine Vieillefond. definitely leads to a new form of poetry, which would claim to have interstellar and intercellular dimensions!

As for the future, Violaine, who has set up several exhibitions and installations, keeps her head on her shoulders and confided to us  that she needs a break (put her mind at rest) Then/tomorrow, the better to rise again, like dormant water just before it surges like a spring."
The whole article (9 pages - in French)

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By Bernard POINT
July 2012

Bernard POINT was a member of the DRAWING NOW committee until 2014,
Creator and director the Gennevilliers School of Fine Arts and its Edouard Manet Gallery, from 1968 to 2002



September 2012 - January 2013

"Another recent encounter in Violaine Vieillefond’s studio takes me immediately into the heart of a space the artist presents to me in a photographic form  before it is metamorphosed into fluids thanks to her exceptional creativity.

Her paintings which thus place me in the moving world  issued from the brush of the artist allow me to sail mentally  in a hitherto unknown ship and to  float in the fluid space  thus created. Finally I find myself on a  landing stage looking far down over the depths of the sea, at the uttermost limit of a visual scene. My journey into these depths is land-marked by a fountain of lights  emanating  from  transparent, luminous disks floating along the way and transformed , through the mere supple force of verticality, into enormous raindrops. This leads me to expect to see them with their wet colours spilling on the ground. As she tries to find a balance between  what is ”mere hazard in her gesture and thoughtful calculation” Violaine paints, on the round tables of a bar, large whirling circles of flowing sea water . These  painted pools are all the more present as there are above the ground, thus becoming works in themselves. One can then sit at table and contemplate them, and feel their intimacy. I can dream I am projected into the illusionary world of these suspended disks,, myself floating on the surface of this painting which  fills me with its fludifying  force .

Seated there for a restful moment of contemplation I am facing a sombre wall over which rectangular, large or small pictures are aligned, a number windows of light…coming from sky or sea…

This hesitation between what I feel as being liquid arborescence or exploding clouds is  paradoxically able at once to lead us anywhere haphazardly and to guide us along the way  imposed by the artist. As we follow this horizontal route, on a vertical diptych on the left,  a dark acrylic pool as if panic-stricken explodes in our sight, throwing  tentacles to the right side. The second panel, notwithstanding the space  between the first and the second one, absorbs splashes of water  that cling to a real network of branches. In my way of reading, as a man of the Western world; I note that the artistic approach  starting  from the coldness of the dark gives rise to the warm light of the sun, although it cannot find it, because, since blue prevails everywhere, yellow, however desired, can only be green! Once more, Violaine can assert that she is “trying to make the relationship with a moving world manifest, structured as it is by forms undergoing metamorphoses, along the stream flowing between consciousness and unconsciousness”. Such  fluidity of thought becomes one of the imperative realities of creation.

Then I make my way to a narrow passage where, after a moment of rest on this dark wall, I discover, on a polystich  the relationship between what is structurally built and what belongs to the fluidity of water. It is not  a matter of chance, this time, if construction voluntarily encloses firmly what is the part of hazard in this  stormy fluidity.

Before leaving the room, I find myself again among those large vertical pictures, hanging on both sides of glass  panes adjoining the ceiling, but letting in  the skylight . Thus I feel the pleasure of metamorphosing the deep sea waters up into  celestial heights. Yet the artist knows how to control the way it intervenes, liberating pictorial matter into the void of the canvas, without invading it in the process. The violence of the vivid forces thus freed can only become stronger and stronger in the turmoil of their sensorial organs since they cannot escape from the maelström of their floating gesticulations.

The influx of this route guides me towards what is an illusory way out, but by chance I once again come to a standstill: I have to stop for a moment before  a large disk in Plexiglas put on a wall. Its title “Hazards and necessities” forces me to play with these numerous Pétri dishes glittering and whirling, battered by the  violent flow of colours and yet paradoxically immobile because of  their imprisonment . The artist makes her painting denser by enclosing it  in a wrapping stuff, while allowing it to use the vitality of its inner ripples, which turn into an abyss similar to an ocean trench, which Violaine explores completely.

On leaving this spacious room, a passage suddenly turns right and I find myself before a wall starred with tiny drops of colour. Some have an inner light for they simply close the hatchways outside  of the wall transforming me into a n underwater sailor.. This time the wall literally flares up, lit up by the paint which, paradoxically again, conceals the light, allowing, however, the latter  to go through it, according to the variations of the atmosphere. In addition to this astrological metamorphosis, small patches  of paint, endowed with the same vitality, let themselves be imprisoned within square frames of impeccable white, but as Violaine has decided, these patches help to reveal the spatial fluidity of their watery colours. In conclusion the artist draws on an horizontal line her adamant will to control the fluids her creativity has invented

In her studio, a place where she projects her future works, I discover the disposition in space of a work whose spontaneous fluidity makes me swim among surprising underwater mountains, recalling the “pavillon de l’eau”, which has  exceptionally been able to metamorphose itself  thanks to the” fluid powers” of Violaine Vieillefond ‘s painting."

Catalog 28 pages:

"A Paris" magazine:


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By Isaac ORTIZAR, Art critic (AICA)

July 2006
"Violaine Viellefond’s painting is set in the backdrop of colors shooting through wind and light. In her canvasses color and matter are in communion and start a long voyage of colors, flooded by light and poetic outbursts capable of transmitting plastic dimension.

Her paintings are bathed by colors: red, blue, green, yellow, gray. They move and make their way to the core, and get diluted and then vanish in an atmosphere to let the luminosity of spatial diaphragm triumph.

Violaine Viellefond throws herself in her paintings with pure colors and works with dogged and maddening determination, and creates, in the meanwhile, other colder colors which spread out to find new light and harmony where are woven poetic links capable of touching our inmost being. In her work there is an abstractness, active and full of emotions, and it is the work of an accomplished artist. It gives freedom to a poetic geography where a deep plastic spirituality reigns.

A dynamic and poetic fusion where are inscribed traces of lands and forests burnt down, of calcined and volcanic stones from boiling water, of evaporation from the depths, that winds and light seek in order to propagate them in the space of her canvasses.

Thus from the very first sight we are in artist’s land, and watch her profane and quiet trajectory, silently transformed by her paintings, and we read there as in open book a discourse full of passion created by her poetry and paintings.

Truly her paintings are memories of winds and lights that form a full palette in movement linked to textures and matter with her own sensitiveness. They place dilated colors and lights in an artistic vision of contemporary art."