ABOUT THE ARTIST
Juliet Vles is an European multidisciplinary artist, born in 1950 in the Netherlands, of Swiss-French nationality and actually living and working in Switzerland.
Essentially an abstract painter and sculptor, whose work is mainly to be found in arte povera and minimal art collections, her artistic interests also include installation work, drawing and digital painting.
I was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands in 1950. Ten years later, my family moved on to Switzerland, where I grew up. Although I always knew I was going to be an artist, I had serious misgivings about the western artworld, that I thought (and still think) superficial and elitist. To stay indepent, I held a great many different money-jobs: as a saleswoman in bookshops, library assistant, dog educator, portrait photographer, social assistant, psychiatric nurse and finally as proprietor of a framing business called the «Rahmenhandlung» - which is a German play of words and means, respectively, a shop making frames and a frame narrative in literature. Although I really liked all those jobs, it soon became obvious that this did not leave me with enough time for my artistic work. So when I was offered the possibility to buy an abandoned farmhouse in the South of France for a song, I packed up and left. Since then, I have been living and working in the wilds of France for thirty years. This meant living in very straitened circumstances and without acces to cultural centres. However, I judge myself privileged, as I am one of the rare really independent artists able to live by their art, without ever having to make concessions regarding my esthetic choices, nor concerning my political engagements, which I would qualify as anti-fascist in the wider sense of the word. This logically includes feminism, atheism and the defense of animal rights. With the coming of internet and online galleries, my life got a lot easier, mostly thanks to the US based online gallery Saatchi Art, whose curators have always very generously supported my work. I have a great many exhibitions and publications to my name and today my work is sold all over the world. I also curated several exhibitions with the participation of artist friends, as well as an manifestation against religious intolerance with Amnesty International. I also had the honour to represent Switzerland on the Consulart at the Musée de l'Art et de l'Artisanat (MAMA) in Marseille in 2016.
With the rising of facisme in France, I recently decided to return to Switzerland. At present, I live and work in a spacious studio not far from the German border, and although it is of course impossible to blend out the recent pandemic and the terribly absurd war in the Ukraine, as far as my personal life goes, I still feel that I have a particularly efficient guardian angel, and am duly grateful.
Extract from an interview with Zita Vilutyte for Anima Mundi arts magazine
The works of the Krypta series, half-painting half-sculpture, are geometrical constructions overlaid with painting, drawing and written panels incrusted, intarsia-like, into the supporting frame. The word «Krypta» (from Greek «hidden», «secret») stands for an artistic expression that does not seek to depict reality, nor even its abstraction, but the imago of an unconscious area of the mind not immediately accessible to analytical intelligence.
Formally, the hallmark of Vles’ artwork is the unusual combination of its sober, geometrical underlying structure and the multilayered, rough texture of the painted surface. Although often shown in exhibitions featuring Concrete Art, her work owes more to the Support/Surface movement than to formal Constructivism.
In her recent work, the artist increasingly abandons the notion of "making images" and rather sees her wall sculptures as an extension of architecture - expanding the supporting wall by an additional physical and esthetical dimension.
For the Krypta archives go to https://goo.gl/photos/7TdWLgybbJNSEeT37
Krypta making of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k5Ck6tdoYo
Juliet Vles’ glassworks cycle recounts of light, transparency and reflection. Her wallsculpture combines woodwork with reverse glass painting, as panes of glass are inserted, intarsia-like, into the wooden chassis. The reflections in the glass panel re-compose the image by incorporating elements of the real world into the artwork. A new design emerges, an image-behind-the-image, that evolves in accordance with its environment, daytime and illumination. Beyond its esthetical impact, this virtual painting on transparency can also be perceived as a metaphor of another, transreal dimension. In 2017, Vles started working on a series of reverse glass paintings, revisiting the glass sculptures and installations she created between 1997 and 2003 and drawing on the technical experience she acquired during that period.
glasswork archives https://goo.gl/photos/t2kdxM7C4ZjQBy8eA
The works of the « transCerebral » cycle are à critical and satirical reflexion on the ambiguous role of the brain in our society. Far from being the simple instrument of rationality it is supposed to be, our brain often acts as undercover agent at the service of our most sordid instincts, sneakily substituting rationality by rationalisation. Metaphor of the schizophrenic condition of human intelligence, these images denounce the alarming discrepancy between our cognitive intelligence and our incapacity to transfer this knowledge into our social life. The transCerebral series turns around two main socio-neurological problems: the lob-sided development of our (very advanced) technical intelligence on the one side and our (very retarded) ethical intelligence on the other, and, secondo; the extent of genetic and educational patterning of our brain and the consequential question about the degree of free thought and decision-making (if any) accorded to the human race.
For the transCerebral archives go to https://goo.gl/photos/RseXeWaCBKE95M8p8
(text by Leon Taveling (extracts)