“A complex career experience: thus could this singular artist’s work be defined.
Her relation to Art deals with open curiosity : Study of Civilisations, technical knowledge of Paper, all these subjects have allowed her to dig deeper into Drawing, Etching and Painting, and also into a very eclecticist way of creating Artist’s Books.
Her Art is one of rigor, effort, all needed to achieve a piece of work, and present it to the viewer’s eye in full autonomy.“
Arts et Métiers du Livre
“We are in great need of painters, to clean up our sight and lead us back to the infinity of visible things. Even more than in the past, do we need them today, when our eyes, our roads are coded: control screens, compulsory or prohibited exits, lights flashing at all hours. Our steps, as our vision of things, are marked out since childhood.
But here, in a lesson both intense and sweet, the hand of a painter comes and liberates us from this unconscious and programmed blindness. Its motion leads us towards the worlds of roadsides, cracks the concrete of our highways, and invites us to watch the grass grow, and see spring, alive again, these useless things we had discarded and which, because the painter watched them intensely, find a second dignity. It reveals among anonymous passers-by those who truly walk and can escape the mapped trails.
A beautiful anxiety marries here, with a humble boldness, the earth and the sky, the so-close unknown and the City, suddenly of such a beautiful, worrying strangeness. From black to infinite hues of grey, a hand guides us with force and anguish, makes us consent to get lost, and slip into the maze of time, things, and life. To be lost for a while, but to breathe more freely, like this faraway city, under the great sky, which because we left it, can become a promise.”
“Could it be that we go by without ever looking at what surrounds us? Claire Illouz’s eye captures the mystery of things in their unexpected reality, offering us what Proust calls “a better knowledge of this far away reality we live with.” Here begins her visual adventure, rooted in a contemplation which precedes a fervent gesture. Whatever the format, monumentality claims a presence through the use of the infinitely small. Her close views isolate a fragment of nature, with a disconcerting inversion of scale, as if seen through a magnifying-glass. Etching, used by the artist with excellence, has been mastered by many years of practice. It gave her a taste for soft and flexible lines, quivering as well on a metal plate as on a paper sheet. Charcoal, ink wash, red chalk, and watercolour, all take part in the drawing. The line can write out the rustling of leaves, or a nettle bush along the roadside, while also suggesting the air blowing around these jarring herbaceous plants, transfigured by light. We discover here the unexpected marvelling power of a familiar world.
This rustic poem is the result of slow and careful observation, with pencil and notebook in hand, which becomes a meditation on the intimacy of things… Activity starts from chaos, to reach order, striding along space for a renewed reading of the model, searching again and again…The bending body adjusts itself to the centring, just like the pencil lies in wait for perception. Claire Illouz’s language develops several themes: for instance objects found in attics and piles of books. The questioning is the same whatever the subject: an attempt to capture the image as well as what it conceals. Drawing and painting are here to help us see and interpret. Claire Illouz knows this and questions the rising of shapes and their relation to space, through the blanks of paper, or neutral grounds of canvas, giving a special vibration to light with highly sensitive tones. The black texture of crushed charcoal, the powdery grain of red chalk on the surface of paper, together with washed colours, all match to reconstruct the fleeting, yet permanent impression of our first gaze on some infinite and secret beauty. Claire Illouz’s drawings and paintings are close to revelation.”
Lydia Harambourg, La Gazette de l’hôtel Drouot – 8 octobre 2010
“The farther the object is thrown from the scope of thought, the better it can be selected as a privileged motive within a corpus identifying her work. Accumulations of books, leftover objects, clay pots, ward off chaos through strange gatherings (collections, combinations) that give them a different image. The eye must adjust as well when it bumps against the road edge and its heaps of grass blades and foliage. Her pencil keeps coming back, insisting on each stem as well as on the fragmented shapes of a shard. Nothing has changed, but everything is different.”
Lydia Harambourg, La Gazette de l’hôtel Drouot – 16 janvier 2009
“Anybody can see that Claire Illouz’s “still lives” are deeply rooted in this major tradition of European painting…Following its customs, she takes the objects through a surprising itinerary: she places them outside, in an open space… A strange choir indeed, they sing words of our times, some premonitory…”
AFFIDAVIT, Nov. 28, 2001
. Objects in clusters or tight rivulets which draw in the space and then redistribute it.
– much white or at least empty… potent dialogue vides–pleins….
. STRONG (and very varied) sense of human presence …
. A welcome banalization, evisceration, casse of technology: technology here is the detritus par excellence – its shiny promise dimmed…
. Anti-Morandi, anti-Braque (but both are references). A refusal to let the objects relate both whole and serenely…
. Joyce’s Finnigans wake, viewed two/three generations later…
. Key : “Bourrasque féconde”, “fracas”, = to “enfin le juste souffle du vivant étonné…”.