Inauguration of Stéphanie Arpels’ exhibition: Women Passing
H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India, inaugurated Delhi-based French artist, Stéphanie Arpels’ exhibition: Women Passing.
New Delhi, 5 December 2019
H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India, inaugurated the new solo exhibition of French artist, Stéphanie Arpels on Thursday, 5th December 2019, at the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
In appreciation of her art, H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, said: “In Stéphanie Arpels, we celebrate the harmonious meeting between an artist and a country. Through her representation of women, in connection with the strong spirituality that surrounds us, and the rich use of colours, she captures the incredible energy of India. There is a strong artistic bond between India and France, that have been fostered by many Indian artists who have studied in France and been inspired by France, and through the many French artists fascinated by the richness of India and its traditions. We are delighted to see that this bond continues in and deepens through Stéphanie’s works.”
French artist Stéphanie Arpels’ new works reveal how the spirituality of Indian women resonates with hers. In this third solo exhibition in India, she interprets women resting, squatting, dreaming, moving, marvelling, and walking. With acrylic, collages and resin on canvas, she uses vibrant colours such as black, red and blue to unveil the sensuality of the curve of women’s bodies, but also what she witnesses daily: their love, anger, power, and joy of living. Gold, an intrinsic part of women’s social tradition, religion, rituals and superstitions, has been invading her canvases. Stéphanie Arpels idealises the perfection of the female form with the use of strict shapes and uses collages to dress them up, revealing their emotions and their intimacy while describing the diversity and depth of their feelings.
Throwing light on her work, Stéphanie Arpels said: “My art represents the dimensions I perceive in the lives of women. Where are they going? What will become of them? I wonder about the present and the future, about that which can be seen, and also the unknown. An inner spiritual awakening is taking over my work on Indian women.”
Stéphanie Arpels, a self-taught artist, has been painting since she was a teenager. She worked with women for many years, and the passion she felt for their fragilities, strengths and complexities, soon transpired in her paintings. Her moving to India in 2015 challenged her to show the diversity and contrasts among Indian women. Her work was rewarded in 2018 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on the occasion of International Women’s Day for excellence in the field of art. Apart from two solo exhibitions, including one at Alliance Française de Delhi in December 2017, she was part of the group shows “Music and Soul” at Art Pilgrim Live Gallery, Gurgaon, in November 2018 and Six women artists “Journey of Light” at Prithvi Fine Art and Cultural Centre, Safdarjung, in February 2019.
It gives me great pleasure to be here today amongst all of you to inaugurate this remarkable exhibition by Stéphanie Arpels, “Women Passing”.
In Stéphanie Arpels, we celebrate the harmonious meeting between an artist and a country. Four years of living and travelling extensively in India shine through her work: the colours of Rajasthan, the peace of the Himalayas, and the souls of the women of India who have crossed her path.
Through her representation of women, in connection with the strong spirituality that surrounds us, and the rich use of colours, Stéphanie has captured the incredible energy of India that I am just starting to rediscover.
It is not easy to be a woman artist anywhere. Nor is it easy to grasp the incredible and sometimes chaotic energy of India. You can thus gauge the challenges that Stéphanie confronted but so effortlessly embraced.
On the path to her unique creativity, Stéphanie was not alone. She could rely on great figures from France and India alike, such as Pierre Soulages and M.F. Hussain, F.N. Souza and S.H. Raza, and other great European and Indian masters.
There is a strong artistic bond between India and France that has been fostered by many Indian artists who have studied in France and have been inspired by France, as also through the many French artists fascinated by India’s rich cultures and diversity. It is delightful to see this bond deepening through Stéphanie’s works.
So here we are tonight, a unique moment to enjoy Stéphanie’s “Women Passing”. A new chapter for her, certainly a discovery for many of you, and a delight for all of us.
Thank you again, Stéphanie, for bringing forward through your exhibition women from across India and thereby creating an important space for them. I also thank the Visual Arts Gallery and its distinguished Director, Doctor Alka Pande, for hosting this remarkable show and – as it always happens here – bringing our two countries closer.
Merci to all of you for being here. I wish you all a delightful evening!