The golden seeds of Marie-Laure Viébel

Marie-Laure Viébel is part of this family of artists, who use gold leaf in an atypical way (like Xavier Noël, J.-J Argueyrolles, Manuela Paul-Cavalier). Sculptor, gilder, and a little picker too ... One of her favorite materials is the giant coco de mer seed, lodoicea, from a Seychelles palm tree, which she sanctifies with gilding.


Marie-Laure Viébel, born in 1962, started with the restoration. There she acquired her technical credentials, during 12 years of on-the-job training, in various gilding workshops, then with the Gilding CAP.


She has retained all the essence of the ancestral techniques of this discipline, which she has finally transposed into her famous "Seeds of life", these giant seeds of "coconut buttocks" revisited. Many (but not all) of her art installations relate to her. We find variations of it in Murano glass or in bronze but it is all those where it plays with gold leaf (the "Gold Seeds") that will interest us more particularly here.


“These very round, soft shapes probably touch me because I am a woman. Behind there is the idea of ​​motherhood, rebirth, the cycle of life. I was also seduced by touching them, by working on them, for the sensuality and the strength that emanate from them, ”she said during one of her first exhibitions in Aix-en-Provence. If the seed itself is charged with duality, history, fantasies and promises (like any seed ...), M.-L Viébel explains that he wanted to bring it light and "bring it into the field. of the sacred ”(almost foreshadowing the legal protection it now enjoys). Thus, beyond its original inspiring form - a base that she transforms with techniques specific to gilded wood / sculpture (primers, reparure) - the fact of affixing gold leaf, moreover in tempera (which allows the magnificent burnished) illuminates them with a completely new light. These seeds, which we suspect are still there, buried, underneath, but very present, come out of the natural environment to access, once "sculpted" - golden to another dimension. This is already the case, in another way, in the so-called popular arts of India or Iran where these seeds have a strong symbolic dimension.


Thus, sometimes the heavens are reflected there, sometimes they are adorned with the feathers of angels, sometimes they become animal (lion, monkey) and finally sometimes, they approach the human body with imagery / textures related to the organs ( sex, lungs, kidneys, mouths ...), even with their history (Brancusi is not far, the Mouth of the truth either).

So, thanks to a magnificent very sophisticated work, made of reparure and leaf gilding, ML Viébel reveals - brings to light - "the primitive": what lies dormant at the bottom of these magic seeds, what grazes them in the natural world, or what brings them closer to humans (unless that's what brings us closer to them) ...