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press, articles, reviews...

Exhibit "FRAGILE", UNESCO March 2013

Article in LE 18e DU MOIS, November 2012

Article in the New York Times, November 2010

Article written by GRACE TESHIMA (american private art dealer in Paris) about the first show of the series
"The Colors of Black" (made of 26 paintings) that took place in December 2009 at her place
("Chez Grace") in Paris.

Article in the paper "Info18" about the art installation "ComméMURation" (the fall of the wall of Berlin, 20 years later), on November 8 and 9 2009 in Paris. Manuela Luchtmeijer was in charge of this project for l' Association d'Anvers Aux Abbesses.

Onder Ons (the magazine for Dutch immigrants in France), portrait March 2009 (in dutch)

Info18, December 2008

Review about the Dames Blanches solo exhibit, june 2006

following the dreamlike path of the white ladies

Exposition personnelle
Dames Blanches
Galerie Art Studio
Paris, june 2006

Like many artists, Manuela Luchtmeijer draws on her own life history for inspiration, and this indeed provides the starting point and one of the main themes of her White Ladies* series. Yet we will not be allowed to discover which stage is being referred to in each painting; at most we can determine a tonality, be it sombre or joyful. Instead of being offered an intimist reading we are shown a triple path through the night, a natural phenomenon and a legend.

First of all, the work as a whole is set in a scale of colours that trace the events of a nocturnal drama: violet at dusk, darker blues as night falls, the flamboyant tones of the rising sun. A blanket of mist in the night, gliding and twisting on the moving air is seen in each episode, and this diffuse white form becomes the common thread weaving its way across the paintings of the whole series. This shape is an evocation, although not an illustration, of the White Ladies; those figures of nordic mythology sometimes good faeries, sometimes witches, that have marked the Netherlands, the artist’s country of birth.

Form and materials, oils generously deployed in strong, vivid line augmented by diffuse patches of colour, all these have precedence over figuration to allow the evocation of each painting’s polysemy.

If figures can be discerned, here and there even in very fine detail coming through the knife work, they are not there to give a direct and naive “meaning” to the picture. It is more to do with using our natural gift for anticipating the next movement that a shape we have recognised will make to regain its balance; it’s about lending dynamism to still images.

Such dynamism should thus be interpreted as abstraction in motion rather than the suggestion of a figure, even if the figure in question is naturally in harmony with the subject of the painting.

This striving to express movement in a still image is inspired by oriental calligraphy. The artist indeed holds a degree in Japanese from L’Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO) in Paris, and has studied and practised oriental calligraphy, incorporating it in previous work in various media: in chinese ink / pastel / oil combinations for classical and contemporary subjects, and in mosaics, as a challenge.

Thorough preparation of the surface by thick layering can take several months but is the necessary preliminary work to the creation of each painting. This is analogous to the time of meditation that comes before the flashing brushstokes of calligraphy. In contrast the leap of the white figure and its dispersal across the canvas happen at an almost automatic level, so as best to render the transience of the fleeting and contradictory impressions that inspire the painting, and which are superbly underpinned by the mythological theme of the White Ladies.

The three subjects in each painting are indeed linked to the whole series, in the description of the three paths that dreams take to reach us: the mysteries of nature, night, and our own history, be it personal or collective.

(Exhibition "Dames Blanches", June 24-July 7 2006, Paris)

*to learn more about it: who are the white ladies?