Image of artwork titled "The Great Tower" by Elise Lafontaine

Elise Lafontaine, The Great Tower, 2022
Oil on linen cotton with stitching
68 × 50 inches

This new series of paintings was created after a residency at the Christoph Merian Foundation in Basel (Switzerland) where Élise Lafontaine had the chance to visit the Goetheanum, a masterpiece of expressionist architecture. Built in the 1920s, this citadel still houses the headquarters of the “Anthroposophical Society” founded by the philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Steiner’s artistic contribution was a major influence on the pioneers of abstraction, including Hilma af Klint, Piet Mondrian and Wassily Kandinsky.
Being fascinated by the aura of the citadel––being conceptualized with anthropomorphic forms and a special consideration for its lived experience––Lafontaine wanted to create paintings with protrusions, projections, and bulges, all of which evoking a fertile dialogue between body, architecture and ideology. Lafontaine developed a technique of “marouflage” that dialogues with the shapes represented at the surface of the linen canvas. The volumes allow for shading and lighting effects that change according to the light of the day.
These layouts create volumes, such as columns and vaults, as well as windows intruding the canvas. These simple gestures reveal extreme tensions that play on the invisible, opening up new questions of reality, new singular spaces of thought. On the surface of the canvas, all the architectural elements meet and vibrate together. Transformed into sensitive and contemplative abstractions, they echo the places they evoke.



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