The Body as a Sanctuary
The body, its movement and the female form are at the center of Marie-Christine Palombit’s work. Let’s meet one of our editor’s favorite artists.
K. Hello Marie-Christine. It’s a real pleasure to get to know you better! How did your artistic career start?
It was in 1990 that everything started. I was 33 years old at the time and decided to stop my activity as an interior designer to start my own business. My meetings with the painter and draftsman Ben Ami Koller and sculptor Gérard Bignolais were decisive. They have supported me and guided me in the world of art and its many difficulties.
Throughout that year, I sent a large quantity of files. They were all on paper with numerous photographic reproductions. I received many refusals. But I will always remember my first positive response for the Salon des Femmes Peintres et Sculpteures at the Grand Palais in Paris where Camille Claudel was once exhibited.
The organizer had written to me in her return letter: « Come and join us, your work is superb, you won’t be in the catalog since everything is closed but I want your work to be present in our show this year ». I thought that a first selection for a show exclusively dedicated to women artists was certainly not a trivial sign.
K. What does one of your artistic sessions usually look like?
As far as painting is concerned, I prepare and make notebooks using handmade paper that I bring from Beijing. It is a mural paper called « Dragon Skin » that I particularly like for its lively texture and its ability to absorb all the « texture » that I impose on it!
For organic calligraphy, I use a very thick engraving paper, I invest the space of the sheets by affixing prints or monotypes before even planning a session with the model.
What interests me in the movement of the woman’s body is not so much aesthetic or exterior, it is the interior movement that interests me.
Le remembrement 4
Mixed Media (72 x 74 cm)
Le remembrement 6
Mixed Media (72 x 74 cm)
I will always remember my first positive response for the Salon des Femmes Peintres et Sculpteures at the Grand Palais, in which Camille Claudel had once exhibited.
K. How do you choose your models?
I choose a model with whom I have a natural complicity, of course.
Drawing from a live model is a privilege. The meeting of the present moment, together, is always a beautiful crossing, an irreplaceable moment of sharing.
In 2015, Marcel Nakache realized « A la lumière du geste et du trait » (In the Light of Gesture and Line) during a session wherein I realized « Organic calligraphies » with my model.
K. Are there any links between your activity as an interior designer and your artistic career?
In fact, the real synergy is rather between my artistic activity and that of the teaching that I did for more than forty years in the higher schools of art, architecture, or applied art.
Interior design has been indispensable in shaping my view of (my) creation and has helped me discover my own nature as an artist and a teacher.
Discovering and exploring what life inspires and dictates to me through artistic creation, then synthesizing it in pedagogical form and trying to transmit it, is a natural and virtuous movement in which I feel complete.
K. The female form and its movement is the inspiration behind your work. What message are you trying to convey?
What interests me in the movement of the woman’s body is not so much aesthetic or exterior but the interior movement. It’s the one that we don’t see at first sight, the one that comes from the guts, from the body’s posture, the one that expresses its need to move with essential and often primal acts, such as walking, running, jumping, scratching, clawing, prostrating, folding, etc…
Woman Between Heaven and Earth, Dancing Like Fire
Mixed Media (140 x 140 cm)
These representations become « archetypal » and tell stories of life, birth, death, torments, withdrawals but also expansion, states of being, primal instincts and emotions contained in the sanctuary that is our bodies represents
The fragmentation of bodies and their recompositions facilitate the « reassembling » sought by all women engaged on the path of the Sacred Feminine.
K. A few years ago, you went to Arizona to join forty women on an exciting walk in the desert. What influence did this initiatory journey have on your artistic process?
Following this trip and the practice of Amerindian rituals, I produced twenty 140 x 140 works on paper mounted on canvas, which I called Wild Women Between Earth and Sky and Between Sky and Earth.
Published in 2020 by L’œil de la femme à barbe, the book FEMMES SAUVAGES tells of this journey and also contains reproductions of the twenty paintings in their two versions, day and night, along with extracts from my logbook.
This initiatory journey allowed me to dive even deeper into the inner listening that my practices as an illustrator and painter require.
Practicing instinctive drawing without prior projection reveals, once the work is completed, the hidden meaning of what emerges. This approach allows me to « digest » both the meaning of my own humanity and that of the outside world.
K. Are you currently working on any new projects?
I am currently in the process of producing a series of works, where the bodies burrow into their holes, into their protective dens, positions of withdrawal, necessities of the desire for deep anchorage.
Is this search for security almost primal? Is it an imposed confinement? But from the bottom of the hole, the horizon is perceptible, between a red earth and twilight skies.
Marie-Christine Palombit’s Gallery
Le Remembrement 2
72 x 74 cm
28 x 30 cm
Femme Entre Ciel et Terre : Jouer
140 x 140 cm