Dumont Fabienne, « Implication féministe et processus créatif dans les années 1970 en France : les œuvres de Raymonde Arcier et Nil Yalter » in Camus Marianne & Dupont Valérie (ed.), Création au féminin., vol. 2, Dijon, Éditions universitaires, 2006→
Dedieu Marie, Le Torchon brûle, zero edition, December 1970, and 6 edition from May 1971 to June 1973; republication, Paris, éditions des femmes, 1982→
Arcier Raymonde, L’héritage, Paris, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 1978
Contre-cultures 1969-1989 : l’esprit français, La Maison Rouge, Paris, 24 February – 21 May 2017
French visual artist.
Active within the feminist movement from its earliest days, Raymonde Arcier, an office worker and self-taught artist, resumed her sociological studies at Vincennes University and, from 1970 on, produced her most striking works, crocheting wool and cotton, and knitting metal—with each piece demanding up to a year’s work. Through her appropriation of this female cultural apprenticeship, she wittily conjured up her social confinement, trying—to use her own words—to “make everyone aware of the huge labour of women”; as for housewives’ bags, she tried to “illustrate the time, energy, money, fatigue and pleasure involved in filling them, and emptying them; emptying them, and filling them”.
Among her monumental sculptures we find Faire ses provisions (1971), huge shopping bags, awkward to carry, made of nylon string knitted with garter stitching, Héritage (Les Tricots de ma mère, 1972-1973), a huge unwearable sweater made with crocheted wool lined with hessian, Paille de fer pour ca(sse)role, 1974-1975, and a scouring sponge, one meter [40 inches] in diameter, weighing seven kilos [16lbs]. In order to free herself from them, to gain recognition for them, and share them, she treats household chores in the mode of the gigantic, the off-beat, and the excessive, on a par with the oppression suffered, as in Au nom du père (1975-1976), which made the front page of La Revue d’en face, in March 1979: a very large woman filled the exhibition space, standing stoutly on both legs, with her arms outstretched cross-like, crucified on household and sexual tasks. In the same vein, she produced Mère et petite mère (1970) and Jeu de dame (1971), a tapestry consisting of the square arrangement of eight dirty floor cloths and eight clean floor cloths, turned into an abstract artwork, resulting from that much decried daily round. While carrying on her professional activities, Raymonde Arcier then became involved in writing and diverse visual works, in particular paintings and collages.
Raymonde Arcier, Au nom du père, 1977, hessian, silk cotton, polyester foam, cotton in crochet hook, cotton and copper in garter stitch, 265 cm de haut, Courtesy Raymonde Arcier
Raymonde Arcier, Le torchon brûlé, 1971, magazine that Raymonde Arcier publishes with other women, Courtesy Raymonde Arcier
Raymonde Arcier, Le tricot, 1970, shredded cloth in garter stitch, 270 x 130 cm, Courtesy Raymonde Arcier
Raymonde Arcier, Mère et petite mère, 1970, kapok et fabrics, 260 x 180 cm, Courtesy Raymonde Arcier
Raymonde Arcier, Vous reproduire, vous êtes-vous regardés ?, 1974, collage, Courtesy Raymonde Arcier
Raymonde Arcier, Faire ses courses, 1971, nylon, imitation leather, plaster, 150 cm, Courtesy Raymonde Arcier