CAROLINE DENERVAUD - Dancing with colours

By Niccolò Tabanelli

Caroline Denervaud's works captivate us for their poetry and elegance.

Expressive, dreamy shapes emerge from the canvas surface.

Swiss artist, represented by Doublev Gallery in Marseille and Otomys in Australia and UK.

“A hidden story. A feeling fixed on paper,” she said about her abstract compositions.

Caroline, imagine you and me walking along the Seine in “Quai des Tuileries,” chatting as we head towards the Alexandre bridge or even further. Just break the limits of distances with fantasy. Caroline your style is immediately recognizable. How long did it take you to find your “voice?”

The time I allowed myself to connect painting and movement.

Dancing was my first love and way of expression. I wanted to be a dancer but had to stop (injured. This was a total and brutal stop I didn’t choose). Then I chose to paint.

A friend asked me to dance once and told me I had to do videos. I did it. This helped me to understand that dancing/making movements was still the purest impulse I had. Videos of movements became videos of traces; the traces became the structures of the paintings. Counting in years, I would say 4.

Your works are a successful synthesis.

I think that we could talk about Henry Moore, Calder abstractions or Giacometti’s first surrealist sculptures without ever getting tired.

What technique do you use for your works? Does color have a central role?

I use paper or linen for support. Charcoal for the traces, caséine and oil for the colors.

Yes, color has a central role! This last part of a painting composes itself around the trace; colors are talking to each other or not, meeting or not, matching or not. They take their spaces creating a new story.

Godard said, “Photography is truth, and cinema is truth twenty-four times a second.”

And Painting? What is painting?

I think paintings are a different lecture of each of us.

For me painting is feeling, poetry, a way to escape, a way to connect.

You collaborated with the fashion brand Roksanda. Can you tell me about this experience?

I think there are no borders between the arts. I love to collaborate with other artists, playing together to find a way to tell our new story.

For Roksanda’s show, I did paintings hanging in space. Girls were walking around and through, like in a painting world… I felt gifted because Roksanda gave me the freedom to create this set; our sensitivities were aligned. This was a beautiful experience, a beautiful share.

You were born in Losanna and you studied at the Studio Berçot in Paris.

You live in Paris. Personally, I am very close to this city; every year I go to see exhibitions, to visit new places, or simply to walk silently along the Seine, as we are doing now in this “fantasy walk.” Jules Renard said, “Add two letters to Paris, and it's paradise.” What is Paris for you?

I studied also at Laban in London (dance) and at the Beaux-Arts in Paris (but I never finished any courses);

Hum… Paris a paradise? I live there and have to stay, but I have always wanted to leave! When I’m really bored of this city, I look at doors and walk, trying to lose myself and discover new beautiful hidden little things that will tell me, “Paris is beautiful.” In reality Paris is noisy, expensive, missing parks, and it’s going the way all big cities are going… Paris is like a passionate love relationship; you love and you hate, you want to run away but you come back…

Do you prefer to work during the day or night?


The world is a huge container of art.

There are Art centers and Art Fairs everywhere, I think about Art Basel Miami, La Biennale, FRIEZEArt Fair in New York and many others. Getting into these lunaparks, full of art is a bit exciting and sad at the same time, so many names, so many styles that don’t have a logic; it’s a real market. For this reason, I don’t love fairs but exhibitions, a solo exhibition or collective exhibition. What do you think about the “big Art market?”

I personally find this fascinating. Understanding it is not easy, maybe it would be best not to try!

I also prefer smaller exhibitions; I don’t like to see too much at the same time too. How does one feel something when the proposition is so huge?

I think about Traces. I’m very struck by this type of research. It’s rougher, disorderly and libertine.

These are impulsions, feelings…

I'm lost! Where we are now? Imagine you’re still at my side walking.

Where would you take me now?

Always a stop for a coffee! Anywhere outside (en terrasse) in a street where lots of people are walking. I love watching people walking.

We keep walking. The air is fresh, as in the pages of some foreign writer who lived here.

Not too far from here should be Gainsburg’s house.

If this interview had been a movie, which music would you have used to accompany the end credits? Is music important in your opinion?

Yes, it is! Especially for films, or films in our heads ;)

I would chose Catherine Ringer’s version of “Le pont des Arts.” This is a Brassens’ song, and I have lots of admiration for both these singers.

Thank you Caroline for this nice chat. I wish you much luck for your beautiful work.

Thank you!

By Niccolò Tabanelli