Michèle Koltz-Chedid

Work Sources

From Daqin to Beijing   [Version française]

"Michèle Koltz-Chedid's works are very appealing to me because they reflect a certain idea of "Beauty" which is so precious to us, as well as an attraction towards modernism, a modernism which, without being excessive, is nevertheless a sign of our times." Maurice Rheims from the Académie française. Paris, 1986.

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, on April 13, 1945, to an Egyptian family of Lebanese and Syrian origins and with Roman links, Michèle Koltz-Chedid was raised and educated in Paris, first at the Ecole Alsacienne, a school well known for encouraging artistic activities, then at the Sorbonne.

In addition to numerous individual and group exhibitions (since 1980, in France and in Luxembourg) a phone card representing one of her paintings was published by Post and Telecommunications of Luxembourg. The Historical Museum of the City of Luxembourg, the National History and Art Museum of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Ministry of Culture, Research and High Education of Luxembourg, have acquired a few of her works. Her paintings are also to be found in many private collections and banks in Luxembourg.

For a long time, Michèle Koltz-Chedid's work has been inspired by the history of European art, particularly by paintings from the 16th to the 19th century. Michèle Koltz-Chedid found her main characters in famous paintings by Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Rubens, Poussin as well as Velasquez, Subleyras, David and Ingres, after having searched for them like a director selecting his actors.

One or several characters appear from one series to the next, allowing Michèle Koltz-Chedid to relate these series to each other, thus ensuring their continuity.

Since 1986, year of her first show in Luxembourg, Michèle Koltz-Chedid has been exhibiting seven of paintings entitled: "Diurnal and Nocturnal Mythologies" (1986), "Sleeping Beauties" (1987), "Patrocles  [1] and Venus" (1996), "The Return of Achilles" (1996), "Vicolo del divino amore" (1999), "Et in Roma ego" (2000) and "From Daqin  [2] to Beijing" (2006).

Her favourite medium is dry pastel, an ancient technique which has proven successful as well as time-resistant. However, in the tracing-papers of the series "Et in Roma ego", the scenery and the characters are drawn with coloured pencils and felt pens. This series refers to "The Shepherds of Arcadia" by Nicolas Poussin but the sarcophagus as well as the inscription have changed. Instead of "Et in Arcadia ego", the artist has inscribed "Et in Roma ego" or "Et in Amor ego" (Amor being Roma in reverse) meaning that even in Rome, the Eternal City, and even in love, death is present.

Michèle Koltz-Chedid's first pictorial approach of Asia dates back to 1986 with her work on the Buto dancers and the Japanese Sumo wrestlers, she had seen in Europe.

During her first trip to China in 2001, she realized that, as a human being and as an artist, she couldn't ignore the immense Chinese civilization.

At the end of 1999, with the representation of the body of Christ in the series "Vicolo del divino amore" which, in her view, questioned the meaning of the work of art within the history of Western art, Michèle Koltz-Chedid marked a pause after more than twenty years of painting dedicated to the human body.

In Western paintings "the Nude extracts man from nature and encloses him in the solitude of his conscience  [3]". In traditional Chinese paintings, nature is the main character.

The very famous Huang Shan mountain is a strong symbol: "Why does this mountain attract, more than any other, such great a number of men and women of all ages and all provinces?" Mist purifies and shapes the splendid scenery, thus encouraging poetic creation. Mist also plunges a willing self into a harmony and a mystery that the intellectual painter of the T'ang dynasty Wang Wei, follower of Chan, calls "interior resonance"  [4].

In the exhibition entitled "Luxembourg-China-Comings and Goings" which took place in March 2006 in Luxembourg, views of China by Michèle Koltz-Chedid replied to photographs of Luxembourg by the Chinese artist Shi Ruo.

This same exhibition under the same title: "Luxembourg-China, roundtrips" was shown in Beijing in May-June 2007. But a third voice, that of photographer Michel Medinger, had joined for this show the voices of Shi Ruo and Michèle Koltz Chedid.

In September 2007, Michèle Koltz Chedid took part in a second exhibition in Beijing, which was entitled "Clear sound among landscapes". This group show with 3 other painters, all of them Chinese, was organized in a new gallery in the famous center "798" at Dashanzi District.

Through November and December of 2009, Michèle Koltz-Chedid had a solo exhibition called "Chinese Mountains" at the Brenart gallery in Brussels.

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