Valérie Favre

Valérie Favre


Valérie Favre's classic painting moves between figuration and abstraction. Her world is the contradictions, opposites, rebellion. Her protagonists are rabbits, idiots, cockroaches or suicides - all figures that are repressed in our social schemes.

With "Test and Rest" we show here the first three works I, II, III (towards the lake ... even more lushly painted works with red and a lot of material), so the start of the series, the grammar of possibilities (with the plastic bag, with EXIT, with the gun in the mouth, with the hairdryer in the bathtub ...) and a tribute to people (from Seneca or Cleopatra to the present) or works of art (Lassnig). These are the first and withheld "forgotten" works of her extensive suicide series. Other works in this series have been on view at the Berlin Kunstverein, the Kunsthaus Aarau which also acquired a whole series for their collection.
The artist captures the radical decision to end life in reduced tones and unambiguous gestures, almost sketch-like, often drawing on representations from film, literature, theater.

Life is juxtaposed with death as an indispensable necessity that is within one's control - in contrast to birth. While ordinary death "happens," suicide is a theatrical version, staging. EXIT in turn a de-theatricalization - for each person, making the act "ordinary" again.

Suicide remains taboo in both society and the church. And this despite the fact that suicide has preoccupied people for thousands of years. With few exceptions, Christianity has been united in its rejection throughout history. On the other hand, the Christian attitude has developed in dissociation from the ancient environment. For at that time the idea of dying as easily, with dignity or as quickly as possible was quite common and led, especially among the elites, to a liberal approach to suicide from today's perspective. Christianity, on the other hand, rejected such autonomy on the grounds that God alone was in charge of life.

From then on, suffering and pain appeared above all as tests of God: endure instead of give up!

For a long time, theology and the church focused on suicide as a sinful act: Apart from the rare exceptions such as martyrdom, it was an inadmissible escape from the expected probation in trials. For a long time, people who committed suicide were therefore called "self murderers" and were - as murderers - not buried in church, but were publicly burned. Even into the 20th century, they were not even buried in a cemetery, but only in "unconsecrated ground". A gain in freedom or growing pressure to say goodbye?

Juxtaposed with the suicide images is the "Lapine Universelle," Favre's alter ego - or as one would say today: Her avatar. She slipped into the role of the self-confident rabbit again and again in order to try things out, to cross boundaries, and to be able to switch between gender roles, professional profiles, and social ideas. Not only do the two works oppose each other in terms of content, but also in their dimensions. While the one runs postcard-like, unspectacularly like a film, the Lapine Universelle contrasts with it in oversize. Radiant but still fragile. ... and with reference to the "Figure in the landscape" by Wim Botha.

Valérie Favre,1959 born in Evilard, Switzerland
lives and works in Berlin, Germany and Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Since 2006 Professor of Painting at Universität der Künste, Berlin, Germany, where she succeeded the chair of Georg Baselitz painting class.

Valérie Favres paintings open up fresh narratives and conceptual perspectives, moving between figuration and abstraction. Her works are dominated by a fictional world made up of contrasts, contradictions, resistance and restlessness.

Valérie Favre paints scenes developed over the course of several years in large series and work cycles. She works in an openly experimental manner, using a repertory informed by art history. Her demands of the medium are extensive; she is always engaged in a radical interrogation both painting and artistic work processes.

Fotografin : Marie Cauchy, Atelier Berlin 2021


Showing the single artwork