Françoise Quardon

1961 | Nantes, France
— Françoise Quardon

French visual artist.

After studying at the Fine Arts School in Mans, where her professor Gina Pane strongly influenced her artistic stance, Françoise Quardon developed an unclassifiable body of work, however characteristic of a contemporary baroque and a literary and decorative approach to artistic creation. This polymorphic, obsessional and often autobiographical work is presented in various forms: objects, installations, sculptures, photographs, drawings, writing, and more recently, videos. Her first exhibitions (La Criée, Rennes, 1990; Chapelle de l’Oratoire, Nantes, 1993; Le Creux de l’enfer, Thiers, 2000) presented domestic worlds made of beds, chairs, pedestal tables and chandeliers transformed into magical and eerie objects. Through wedding or princess gowns, luminous garlands and hybrid animals, she explores the world of fairy tales and gothic novels. In 1995, she presented an installation La Jupe de Milena dedicated to Milena (1896―1944), Kafka’s partner, in the exhibition Féminin-Masculin, le sexe de l’art at the Centre Pompidou. In the Chapelle de l’Oratoire in Nantes, she suspended large bells made in transparent and luminous resin, covered in kitchen utensils that she believes are like phantoms (Ghost, 1993). She also created a perfume, Écume d’amour, for the exhibition Aimée à jamais, rose de personne at the Centre d’art contemporain in Pougues-les-Eaux. Most of her works evoke fantastical tales, unsuccessful love stories, but always with a bit of irony. In 2008, she travelled to Mexico to visit the Ciudad Juárez, a city known for female homicides, and returned inspired by the objects and rituals for the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

For several years now, she has tattooed her body, which has become a new medium for her fantasies. She has floral motifs, dragons, swords, roses and skulls drawn on her skin. Invited by the Manufacture Nationale in Sèvres in 2006, she created weapons in porcelain covered with inscriptions. The series Letters are Weapons was presented in the exhibition Contrepoint at the Musée du Louvre in 2006. In her videos, F. Quardon often introduces herself into the stories in the guise of a femme fatale, rocker, fairy or witch. Fantastical beasts appear in most of her creations: spiders, snakes, butterflies and toads. She also has a diverse writing practice, including her own texts or even citations by authors in English or in French. Her body of work, which can be qualified as a feminine Romanesque, unfolds like a labyrinth with various paths, as seen in the layout of the book La Ballade des Clamecés (2009), which she designed and illustrated.

Marie-Laure Bernadac

Translated from French by Katia Porro.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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