Francine Simonin works in painting, drawing and engraving. Her physical approach to her art differs according to the medium, but always displays the same sheer power. She enrolled at the Lausanne School of Fine Arts in 1953, at which point her drawings were inspired by her reading, with a particular interest in unusual female forms. The power of her interaction with the medium made her work increasingly hard to read as figurative art. Some silhouettes appear clearly in outline and some places are hinted at: Lake Geneva, for instance, is recognisable by its blue ripples. In most cases, however, Simonin’s numerous references are clear only from her titles. Landscapes, cityscapes, bodies, works of art, literature and music are her favourite subjects, all assimilated in one great sweep of creativity. She has stated that she depicts them without striving for photographic accuracy.
A great admirer of abstract expressionists, particularly Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, Simonin paints on a flat surface and prefers to use paper, which is less costly than canvas and allows her to experiment and paint without worrying about the end result. She works with brushes, her hands and fingers, and rags, always with the same determination. The energy of each new work covers the surface of the paper (in this case two sheets mounted together) with a deep, inner current that flows from her own moving body. This composition’s sense of teeming abundance stems from the accumulation of marks on the paper. The first lines providing the work’s broad structure have been buried under successive layers. The teeming Composition is an interplay of swathes of colour with no sense of cohesion that are nonetheless in dialogue with each other. What counts for Simonin is that once the painting is placed upright, it should express her urge to transmit the energy she felt at the moment of creation.
Lauren Laz, Nicolas Raboud et al., Francine Simonin, Bern, Till Schaap Edition, 2014.
André Corboz, Françoise Jaunin and Jacques Dominique Rouiller, Francine Simonin, exh. cat. Vevey, Musée Jenisch, Denges, Éditions du Verseau, 1992.