Point of view


At the edge of the sky

With Au bord du ciel, Manon Pellan has chosen a design that gives a prominent place to contrast. Coming from his imagination as much as from his most immediate daily life, his drawings float on the surface of white backgrounds – that is to say how crucial light is for the artist. In the evolution of her practice, the young woman has always been sensitive to contrasts and images – whether cinematographic or lived – in a light that is as aesthetic as it is conceptual. Why white, why light?

“I work with sunlight in my photographic search for otherness. Upstream, the white is already present at this stage of the process. When I build the design on the surface of the paper, the only possibility to make the pattern visible is white. It then intervenes as a breakthrough of symbolic light. Breakthrough yes; because the white reveals my drawing as much as the contrast. It unfolds in an outward movement and suggests what was embodied. In the same approach, the ambivalence of white is that it recalls the presence of the motif, as well as revealing its absences. Like the sun overexposing the object it warms in a tender moment when the absence of the other is already felt, white becomes in all its violence, the only way to reveal the essential by creating a void, to fill this vacant space and fully embody the absence. »

From his various series – “Ghost”, “Etreintes” or “Trash” – the artist draws his ideas from his personal life. His mother's shirts, his grandmother's dishes; so many subjects drawn from intimate memories with a strong emotional charge. Disembodied objects that evoke the different senses and function as “an experience of the bond that I create, not without a certain spirituality, a kind of cocoon” affirms Manon Pellan. These objects are truly attached to the lived more than to the living and go beyond the simple idea of ​​a deadly projection. White, emptiness, light and memories constitute moments of “tenderness, modesty, sensuality, fear or hope; according to variations”.

Paris, April 2022


Artist statement

Ghost Series

“In my series“ Ghost ”, I try to develop a reflection around the body and its absence, intimacy, and loss, through an essential issue in the history of art, the drape. , which carries in its fold an exceptional power of evocation in its sensitive and contemplative character, placing it still today well beyond a simple tool of pathos.

Always leaving an important place for the white of the paper, I question the absences of the chosen motif and try to reveal its poetry. The partial absence of the body in this series works intimately with the presence of white, a void that fills the void; the white indicates the absences of the drawing.

The choice of this motif is linked to my personal history, and I actually believe that our vision of fabric and more generally of clothing, is very ambiguous: it has a special place for each of us, between the trivial object that we take out carelessly, the fetish that we store carefully, or the rag that we throw away without guilt. The fabric speaks of our relationship to everyday life, to the intimate, and to the body. "

Manon Pellan

Paris, February, 2021

Trashs Series

“For me there is a form of violence and emotion in the observation of the banality of the elements that make up our space. It makes sense for me to question, through still life and modern vanity, our contemporary relationship to objects, and our way of ritualizing them or not. This is a problem that has crossed our history for a long time.

Even if the choice to draw around this question is very intuitive, sensitive and personal, I admit being crossed by strong references from our history, from ancient Rhyparography, to the “trap paintings” of Daniel Spoerri. I am also aware that still life was for a long time a constraint imposed on women artists, who sought to free themselves from it. As a woman artist, it seems interesting to me, in a time when our relationship to images and consumption is very different, to reappropriate the subject, and make it a ritual through drawing.

Against our habit, which pushes us to hide what turns us off or indifferent to us, and to move very quickly from one image to another, I decide to stop and make a case for the waste, whether it is in precious dishes or in a plastic bag. When I take a closer look at these objects that do not deserve special attention, I choose to ritualize them, and place them at the center of attention.

When I fix myself on the inside of a trash can, or a plate at the end of a meal, something very moving happens to me, all the first emptiness that can emerge from their ordinary character, is counterbalanced by the 'special attention that I pay them, by their representation through the drawing.

Wanting to approach noticeably these textures which only provoke us a priori only repulsion, and to put a certain precision in them, is also to allow them to express a delicacy, a fragility which perhaps brings us closer to an awareness of the sustainability of our existence. "

Manon Pellan

Paris, February, 2021