Geneviève de Parnier
A native of the small town of Montaillou in Southwest France, de Parnier won a place at the prestigious École des Beaux Arts, and in her first student show stunned jaded Paris audiences with the multimedia performance, “A Portrait of Guillaume Fort,” involving a shopping cart of canvases, three dead geese, and a litre of gasoline.
Near the end of her studies, de Parnier unexpectedly turned away from her early, extravagant art to experiment in oils. Her few existing canvases betray the influence of Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, and lay the foundation for mature efforts like still video “Les oeufs,” the first of her “Nature mortes” series which relies on careful composition and studied colors for its effect.
Some critics persuasively argue that this development was not only a response to deceptively simple artists like Chardin, but her own cultural roots in what was once a hotbed of the Cathar religion. And truly her rejection of motion, the very nature of her medium, seems at times to have taken on a mystical urgency, signifying a rejection of the flesh itself.
Showing only rarely while she experimented, it was de Parnier’s rescue of the Montrémy manuscript, Green Notebook, that brought her once again into the public eye. Condemned under a now obsolete law for its publication, her own work was temporarily banned as well, which led to its rapid online spread during her several months of incarceration.
Watch her videos.
Read excerpts from Nouvelle Art Zine’s “Interview with an Enigma”