Fatrasie. by BOURNAZEL, Diane de.

Fatrasie. by BOURNAZEL, Diane de. < >
  • Another image of Fatrasie. by BOURNAZEL, Diane de.
  • Another image of Fatrasie. by BOURNAZEL, Diane de.
  • Another image of Fatrasie. by BOURNAZEL, Diane de.
  • Another image of Fatrasie. by BOURNAZEL, Diane de.

~ Fatrasie. [Marliac & Paris], 2023.

(262 × 165 mm), pp. [14], each leaf fully illuminated by hand, mixed media with ink, watercolour and collage. Bound by Armelle Guégant in decorative marbled boards (paper by Marianne Peter), manuscript labels, matching slipcase.

Fatrasie is a twenty-first century visual interpretation of a rare and highly distinctive medieval poetic form of satirical nonsense verse. In the Fatrasie form, early French rhymers subjugated meaning to the rhythm of repeated sounds and syllables and yet were able to hide piquant criticisms of prevailing power structures within their verses. It is a particularly apt title among Diane de Bournazel’s unique artist’s books, which frequently conceal their narratives and meanings within the artist’s dense iconography.

Diane de Bournazel (b. 1956) creates books as ‘poems without words’ in her unique pen, ink and gouache style, filling each page with mazes of vegetation, mysterious borders, structures and figures, opening windows within pages allowing us to see behind and beyond them, suggesting a series of alternative worlds and narratives. Drawing on the universals of the cosmos, the natural world, of childhood and human relationships each of her books invite careful ‘reading’ and multiple interpretations. Collectors have found the books to speak for themselves, and the artist writes of her work simply as:

‘Poésie sans paroles.
Il s’agit bien de ça.
Mettre en images le monde et l’arrière monde,
Comme un poète mais sans mot dire’.

De Bournazel has recently been the subject of an essay by French medievalist and cultural historian, Michel Pastoureau, entitled ‘Fenêtres sur le rêve’ (2024) written to introduce the artist’s first major Paris exhibition. Following a deep consideration of the artist’s visual world he concludes: ‘The reading of Diane de Bournazel’s work takes a deliberately plural path, as in a fairy tale or a dream. It is obviously this way that she wants to lead us. And herein lies the magic of her art, an art that is both bewitching and bewitched, absolutely original, impossible to photograph and still less describe or explain. Her creations appeal not only to our imagination but to all our senses at once. You have to look at them, listen to them, feel them, breathe them and, ultimately, savour them’.

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