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Sylvie Karier, Anne Heyvaert

« Piquages et Plis-Pages »
Complicity in the margins of the engraving and the multiple

To practice engraving, writes Jean Yves Langlois in a small book Graver à dessein, supposes an analysis of the intimate modes of operation of this art, of its conditions of existence, formation and birth. (…) The printmaker carries out his art on the borders of plastic practices. The border of a territory is also the starting line of another territory. The field of printmaking makes it possible to provoke meetings and exchange communication with the other arts (LANGLOIS, 1994) ; and we also add, more than for other disciplines by its technical characteristics and distribution, it allows complicity between engraving artists.

Sylvie Karier and Anne Heyvaert jointly trained in printmaking in Luxembourg. Our paths have subsequently crossed regularly and this since 1990 in various workshops in Luxembourg, France and Spain, as well as on the occasion of numerous group exhibitions.

Our work, between analogies and oppositions, shows a complicity of more than thirty years. The latest works, although carried out alone and remotely, bear witness to a similar questioning in an individual quest related to our professional situation. The dynamics of a research group (digital & graphic art research, Universidad de Vigo, Spain) for Anne, the contact and the exchange with other printmakers in different collective workshops in the world for Sylvie, certainly encourage experimentation to the limits of what is possible, and even beyond. Just as a regular activity, deep in our personal workshops, shows a determination to pursue a demanding graphic work which is found in complexity and restraint, in search of tension and emotion.

"Piquages" by Sylvie Karier and "Plis-Pages" by Anne Heyvaert, stitching on paper for one, an artist's book published for the other, show two graphic projects in the margin of printmaking; but which come from a deep knowledge of the medium and what multiple art means: internalization of materials, gestures and values, which are primary and identity-related to the art of printmaking; and multiplicity as fundamental quality.

Through very different processes, both artists emphasize the paper as subject and medium in these works. Paper with its long tradition in the world of prints offers basic qualities such as its blank surface and an often white tint at the start, its soft and light materiality, fragile in appearance and yet resistant depending on the length of its fibers.

Anne Heyvaert continues to evolve in the field of printmaking by basically valorising the paper as support in her artist's book Plis-Pages as well as a subject with its white and empty pages, defined by the drawing of their sole shadows. These shadows simulate a third dimension, in the movement of the passage of the page. The book unfolds a complete sequence of the opening and closing of a fold-notebook - the basic module of a book - whose gesture of the reader takes up the evolution of this movement. Nothing could be more natural than turning these pages, which through the sobriety and precise restraint of the drawing, gives to a rather banal subject and material a precious and unique character.



A. Heyvaert, PLIS PAGES, closed book 26 x 17.5 cm, offset printing, 48 pages, Éditions Incertain Sens, Rennes, France, 2015. P.4-5; 22-23; 30-31; 36-37.

If Anne H. involves the viewer in her work through the volume of her blank pages, Sylvie K. provokes him and plays on tactile experiences by directly attacking the materiality of the paper with stitching points. This process of direct engraving applied in the series “tactile perception - analogy I-III” and “meandering in a square I-III”, lifts the stitched points, makes them palpable and calls the spectator to touch, asking him for a reaction beyond contemplation. The result thus presents an optical quality in the white and the purity of the paper through the light captured and the shadow produced.



S. Karier, PERCEPTION TACTILE Series - Analogy I-III, 50 X 50 cm stitching on paper, unique pieces, 2017. Analogie I.
S. Karier, PERCEPTION TACTILE Close up, 38 X 38 cm, stitching on paper, unique piece 2018.
S. Karier, PERCEPTION TACTILE Vagues, 38 X 38 cm, stitching on paper, unique piece, 2018.
S. Karier, MEANDERING IN A SQUARE I-III series, 50 X 50 cm, unique pieces, 2020.

Both of us meet around this whiteness of the paper with its original properties, impeccable and immaculate, which makes us hesitate in their gesture. Keeping this purity, sublimating it, has become a subject in itself that we develop while at the same time provoking a new dialogue with the spectator around the content, the message.

For Anne H., the blank page, in its conception, stimulates the reader to fill it with images or ideas, like a blank notebook. As for Sylvie K., perforating the white surface point by point suggests an indecipherable writing, forming lines, like secret sentences, which come directly out of the paper by a slow and concentrated gesture.

We both remember the tradition of unifying image and text in the history of printmaking, and more particularly concerning books, linked to reproduction techniques that were first craft and then industrial. Thus artists' books after their apogee as bibliophile books at the beginning of XX C., naturally reveal the advantage of the coming up possibilities of offset printing for their diffusion, they are now followed by digital techniques as a method of reproduction.

The concept of multiplication supports the world of printmaking from a double meaning: the multiplication-repetition of printed images (more or less identical), but also from an idea of multiplicity as a deployment of different images, united, for example in the same series (suite or box set) or on the pages of a book. (HEYVAERT, 2011)

The series of Sylvie's stitchings remain for the most part sets of unique pieces, in which the assurance of the interiorized gesture repeated ad infinitum, retains a link with the values of reiteration, while the stitching stands for the pure act of engraving. The precise and sustained gestures of the drawing are also found in the progression of Anne's pages, reproduced in her edited book.

The participation in the symposium finally motivated a creative meeting with the intervention of Sylvie K. on Anne H. 's book here presented as a conclusion, as a claim for certain essential codes of engraving and its favorite material, paper, as an intimate space of almost nothing.

Sylvie Karier and Anne Heyvaert


Plis-Pages by Anne Heyvaert / Stitching by Sylvie Karier 2020.

HEYVAERT, Anne. (2009) “ Estampare ou la magie de la multiplication - transformation”, Catalogue Atelier Empreinte , Luxembourg.
HEYVAERT, Anne. (2011) “La obra seriada, desplegada entre pautas y pausas”, I Foro Internacional de Arte Múltiple , XIX Feria "Estampa Arte Múltiple", Madrid.
HEYVAERT, Anne et KARIER, Sylvie. (2016) Entre deux , exhibition catalogue Galerie Maggy Stein, Bettembourg, Luxembourg.
LANGLOIS, Jean-Yves. (1994) Graver à dessein , Paris, Ed. École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts.
MOEGLIN-DELCROIX, A. (1997) Esthétique du livre d'artiste : 1960-1980. Paris. Ed. Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Sylvie Karier was born in 1955 in Luxembourg where she lives and works, as well as occasionally in various engraving workshops in Belgium, Canada or others, such as the Cité Internationale des Arts or Atelier Bo Halbirk in Paris, of which she is a member, as well as at the Fyns Grafiske Værksted in Denmark. Founding member of the Empreinte workshop, she is also a full member of the Cercle Artistique de Luxembourg. Paper remains her favorite medium. Along with intaglio media, which have been practiced for many years, drawing and stitching on paper are gaining in importance. Numerous selections and participations in national and international exhibitions bear witness to her artistic activities.

Anne Heyvaert was born in 1959 in the United States, of French nationality, she lives and works in Galicia (Spain), where she is a professor at the University of Vigo, Faculty of Fine Arts, member of the dx5 digital and graphic art group research. She lived in Luxembourg between 1989 and 1994. The paper and the fold are both the motive and the support of her work, in a questioning around the re-presentation: to duplicate and deploy a fragmentary reality, especially using printmaking techniques (engraving, lithography, xylography, infographic…). She has carried out numerous research and creation stays, individual and collective exhibitions, in Spain, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Canada, Argentina, regularly selected in international competitions.



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