UPGRADING THE WALL - the Krypta series

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.

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. 

Often considered as a subspecies of sculpture, wall sculpture is in truth an artform in its own right and defined, not by its affinity to other forms of artistic expression, but by its interaction with the wall and the surrounding space. 
In her recent work, the artist increasingly abandons the notion of "making images" and rather sees her work as an extension of living architecture - expanding the supporting wall by an additional physical and esthetical dimension.                                                                                                                                                                                                         Leon Taveling (extract)


L177 (prophecy)  2024   mixed media/collage on wood   100x87x12cm





L177 (prophecy)  2024   mixed media/collage on wood   100x87x12cm




L138CP  2023   mixed media/collage on wood   116x101x13cm





L138CP  2023   mixed media/collage on wood   116x101x13cm





L138CP  2023   mixed media/collage on wood   116x101x13cm




L141/2  2024   mixed media/collage on wood   91x85x12cm



KRYPTA   Installation view  2022




L138 (Prophecy)  2022   mixed media/collage on wood    150x250x13cm




L137  (broken wheel)   2022   mixed media/collage on wood    147x147x25cm   (installation view)




KRYPTA  Installation view    Left wall: L93 (lukanon) 2016  mixed media/collage on wood   200x60x10cm       Right wall:  L136 (gravitas)  2022  mixed media/collage on wood   183x115x16cm



L136 (gravitas)  2022  mixed media/collage on wood   183x115x16cm



from MODULES  2022  mixed media/collage on wood: (from left to right)   L135 / L134  /  L133   (private collection)



from MODULES   L143    2022  mixed media/collage on wood: 118x75x6cm



from MODULES   L142   2022  mixed media/collage on wood: 106x62x8cm


After many years of artistic creation, my head has become an orphanage, inhabited by abandoned shapes, ideas and projects – discarded, not for lack of aesthetic or spiritual value, but for being on the wrong place at the wrong time and, for that reason, not compatible with the artistic project of that particular moment. Instead of quietly going away, as I told them, these beautiful orphans continue to loudly proclaim their birthright of realisation, to squat my studio and to clutter up my computer and my brain. So, under duress, I decided to accord them the life on canvas, paper or wood they so obstinately claim and thus let them shape their own reality and their own legend.


                                                                                            L107 (beautiful orphans)  2016  mixed media/collage on wood  132x168x16cm   (private collection)

        L108 (beautiful orphans)  2016  mixed media/collage on wood  140x115x16cm   (private collection)

Throughout human history, the moon has been a metaphor of the darker side of nature - of mystery and crime, of trance and insanity and, of course, of creative madness. As a dyed in the wool rationalist, I have no use for moongoddesses and werewolves - even less for the disgusting rites of fascistic moon-sects. But I believe in the beauty of a moonfrozen landscape, the intuition of sleepwalkers (y compris in science, as Arthur Koestler has so impressively shown), and in the power of the human mind to create poetry out of a moonlight shadow.


                         L105 (lunar lyrics)  2016   mixed media/collage on wood   130x155x8cm  (private collection)

                                                                                                 L109  (lunar lyrics)  2016   mixed media /collage on wood   112x170x10cm

                                                                                                                  L126  (lunar lyrics)   2019   mixed media/collage on wood   165x112x30cm

Spell Tower refers in the first place to the building of words, which is a key feature of the KRYPTA series. But besides its linguistic definition, it also implies the more poetic sense of enchantment, «casting a spell», which some consider to be the ultimate relevance of art.

                                                                                                              L119   (spell tower)  2018   mixed media/collage on wood    131x150x12cm

L88  (triptych)   2014   mixed media / collage on wood   200x350x17cm

L89  (Carillon)   2015   mixed media / collage on wood   130x233x11cm   (private collection)

  L70    2015   mixed media/collage on wood    180x232x10cm  (private collection)

                                                                                                           L124  (divergence)  2019  mixed media collage on wood   125x105x11cm

                                                                                                                    L125  (grey eminence)  2019   mixed media /collage on wood   191x99x24cm

L23  (Time and the Hour)   2010   mixed media / collage on wood     310x135x25cm   (private collection)

L76   2013   mixed media / collage on wood   200x130x17cm   (private collection)

L81   2013   mixed media / collage on wood   200x130x6cm   (private collection)

    L104  (ways of perception)  20195  mixed media /collage on wood   80x80x12cm


For my assemblage work, I also use found objects which are inserted «brut» so as to avoid all risk of prettifying. Conform to the arte povera doctrine, the material used  -  industrial paint, glue, paper, plywood  -  has no intrinsic monetary value. The legitimation of the oeuvre is purely artistic. In my recent work, I increasingly abandon the notion of making images and rather see my wall sculptures as an extension of architecture  -  building (stricly non-religious) sanctuaries in an alienated environment.

    L100  (sanctuary)  2015   mixed media /collage on wood   103x100x9cm   (private collection)

    L83  (sanctuary)  2015   mixed media /collage on wood   103x100x9cm   (private collection)

    L97  (sanctuary)  2015   mixed media /collage on wood   103x100x9cm   (private collection)

    L14  (dorian)  2017  mixed media /collage on wood   113x73x8cmm  (private collection)