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'Peintures' by Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi has always painted ... Although she has never shown it until now, painting is the basis of all her creation, whatever its final form. This passion for painting was initially illustrated in the form of comics or films, Marjane Satrapi wishing to create popular works, accessible to everyone. For the first time, from January 30 to March 23, 2013, Marjane Satrapi will unveil this hidden facade of her artistic talents with 21 paintings, new or recent, all unpublished portraits.
 Portraits depicting a single subject or larger scenes with two or four characters, all these works are actually designed as portraits. Marjane Satrapi analyzes painting as a means of expression of her unconscious and yet it is in her familiar environment that the artist finds his inspiration. Although the subjects represented in his paintings are anonymous, their features are physically inspired by personalities reminiscent of his childhood. In an approach paradoxically far removed from all feminism, she still includes women, whose faces inspire her more, appearing at once more varied and easier to draw. The faces, with very expressive features and the always closed mouth, are the only nuanced parts of these paintings and are painted in shades of color that express the subtlety of human feelings. In contrast, the body of the subject as the rest of the scene are painted in a clear chromatic scale and are the subject of very constructed compositions, where rectilinear lines and solid areas of bright and lively colors oppose for a better perspective of characters. Marjane Satrapi admits her enchantment for Balthus' interior scenes and their elaborate composition, as well as her admiration for Mondrian's geometric constructions. The simplification of the lines and the intensity of the colors nonetheless evoke the sensual painting of Matisse, who exalted the color as a "privileged instrument of communication and emotion".
The analogy with Matisse is nevertheless obvious, but here it is conceptual, intellectual and not pictorial: "My models, human figures, are never extras in an interior. They are the main theme of my work "(1) ..." I do not paint things, I only paint their reports. »(2)
These words of her illustrious predecessor are perfectly applicable to the creative approach of Marjane Satrapi, who is primarily interested in human relationships. His portraits do not seek to be the only representation of one or more characters, they have an obvious narrative character that images human relationships as we live them on a daily basis. Thus, none of the characters in these portraits are represented frontally. On the contrary, it is the ever-oblique gaze of these women who invites us to decipher the mystery of their thoughts ... 12 portraits (65 x 50 cm) show single women, in full reflection, with the side view, always facing outward, appearing sometimes lost in thought or otherwise determined and expressive. As the artist emphasizes, what attracts us here is the "off-camera", which is not seen and that we look only when we are alone with ourselves. (3)
In the six portraits of duets (150 x 100 cm), the "out-of-field" has disappeared, it is the play of look between the two characters that tend the composition because when we are two, we are always cornered by the other . (3) As for the 3 paintings (140 x 140 cm) showing groups of 4 women, they are presented as animated family portraits, in which one sits, one poses, one plays ... As soon as one is at many, we make concessions, so we ask, we're not quite ourselves anymore. (3) This series of paintings is a continuation of all her previous creations, including her comics Persepolis (2000-2003) and Embroidery (2003), in which Marjane Satrapi strove to portray the complexity of human nature , with a simplified and yet remarkably expressive pictorial expression, always treating with great irony and humor the classical aesthetic criteria of human representation. With a total freedom of creation that frees herself from any technical or pictorial dogmatism, she reconciles here the paradoxes of her personality between a character at once exuberant, very exteriorized, and surprisingly introspective, which makes a logical and Cartesian reasoning coexist with a dreamlike expression of feelings and emotions, in a personal experience that mixes Eastern values ​​from his family culture and Western values, the artist who has lived in France since his youth.   1: Henri Matisse, "Notes of a painter on his drawing", in Le Point, 1939. 2: Henri Matisse in Louis Aragon, "Matisse in France", 1943. 3: The words in italics are by the artist.


Marjane Satrapi

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  • Painting
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