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Sculptural Watercolour®  l'Aquarelle sculpturale

 

Ice Chimney - North Face of the Eiger - Switzerland

 

 

The Ice Chimney on the North Face of the Eiger, Switzerland

Sculptural Watercolour® in a box frame 80 x 60 x 8 cm

Note: The Ice Chimney (Wasserfallkamin) or Ice Waterfall is at 3450m on the so-called Heckmeir Route that leads to the Ramp Icefield (Rampeneisfeld).

The North Face of the Eiger is one of the most difficult challenges for mountaineers because in addition to being very steep, the climber has to endure a constant barrage of falling rocks, ice and water. Ice-fields throw up special difficulties that must be overcome.

This Sculptural Watercolour® is a representation of one of the many challenges: a frozen waterfall where climbers must dig in ice-axes and crampons to cross the cold and slippery surface from one side to the other yet progress upwards.

At a French exhibition in December 2016, this very early Sculptural Watercolour once more attracted considerable attention. A French newspaper described it as 'bluffant'. This is difficult to translate, but an on-line dictionary came up with 'stupefying, incredible, unimaginable, stunning, imposing, inspiring, remarkable'. The venue was a château near Geneva once owned by Voltaire - near the artist's studio - where he spent much of the latter part of his life collaborating with others of the Enlightenment to produce inter-alia a multi-volume encyclopaedic dictionary.

In looking through Volume 7 of this extremely important work, the artist was struck by Voltaire's entry on literary taste, as it coincided so closely with her own views on artistic taste:

French original

Il ne suffit pas pour le goût, de voir, de connaître la beauté d’un ouvrage ; il faut la sentir, en être touché. Il ne suffit pas de sentir, d’être touché d’une manière confuse, il faut démêler les différentes nuances ; rien ne doit échapper à la promptitude du discernement ; & c’est encore une ressemblance de ce goût intellectuel, de ce goût des Arts, avec le goût sensuel : …

L’Encyclopédie, 1re éd. Mis en ordre & publié par M. Diderot (et d'Alambert), Tome 7 1757 p761, Goût, (Gramm. Litterat. & Philos.) [Voltaire]

English translation

With taste, it is not sufficient merely to see and to know the beauty of a work; one must feel it and be touched by it. Nor is it sufficient to feel and to be touched in a confused way; one must detect the different nuances. Nothing should get in the way of one’s instinctive appreciation of taste as one draws upon all the intellectual, artistic and sensual subtleties involved.

Translation of Voltaire's entry on literary taste. 35 volumes were published from 1751 to 1780. It is the leading work of the Enlightenment - that challenged both church and monarchy.

In 2018, the artist received a personal invitation from French President Macron to participate in the re-opening of the château de Voltaire, and she was impressed by the kind comments he made when he spoke to her.

Alps Exhibition Index

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