Genevieve Attinger


Artist Information for Genevieve Attinger

To have two facets, a biology teacher and an artist, is very positive: my artistic creativity fed my work as a teacher and my profession as a teacher enriched my artistic expression.
Once and for all I am a storyteller, that’s why my work is figurative, narrative; thread and fabric are my mode of expression, my vocabulary.

After still life came the desire to turn to characters and portraits because the story to tell is more alive. For the characters, I feature my daughters but also unknown people from photos I take, faces found in magazines and I put them into a scene, which changes from the original and allows me to express what I want to say. I am inspired by an image, by a text which by their own power of suggestion are the origin at times of feelings, soft and serene. I am sensitive to the representation of the curves of the feminine body, to the image of the ideal or idealised woman. But I am also inspired by reports, debates on television on current problems: the place, the condition of women, against man, in society, their questions, their joys, their sorrows, their doubts, their battles or other aspects. Why particularly women? My expression is closely tied to what I feel, think, see, know; from little girl to woman I am on the female side and what’s more, I have given birth to three girls, masculinity is more foreign to me, I only perceive it from the outside!

In my work I just want to create a link between myself, the story I am telling, the sentiments I am feeling and the spectator, the story they see, the sentiments they feel. It doesn’t matter if my story is badly interpreted, the main thing is that I touch this spectator. Nevertheless, I do guide their interpretation by the titles I give to my works. The techniques I use for the individuals are simple - piecing, appliqué and above all free machine embroidery, This machine is vital for me, it’s my third hand. For the setting up I use the method which I think best suits the project. At times it’s planned from the start, at other times it becomes apparent during the making process. My initial sketch at times evolves far from what I originally planned. I  like using textiles with a history, a memory - sheets or old clothes made of linen, cotton, hemp; I find them in flea markets, thrift shops; then I dye them or discharge them, print them and above all manipulate them, mistreat them and transform them: I make holes in them, I knot them, I pull threads to alter the weave; they are at one and the same time the object and the subject of the work. Their past life and the current realisation of which they are the basic ingredient are now closely linked. I like the idea of linking and transition.

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Penn Sardin #2- La Dentellière

Penn Sardin #2- La DentellièreH 66' x W 32"  

I live in Brittany (France); the headdresses and the costumes of olden times are  the  sign of sociological recognition of this region.

« Penn Sardin - La Dentellière » talks about the Breton women who had to learn lace making to earn their living  and rescue from poverty at the beginning of the 20th century. Because of the fishing crisis, when the sardines disappeared from the Breton fishing areas, these women lost their jobs in the sardin canneries. They and their headdress were called: penn sardin (tête de sardine/sardine head).

The fine thread work on rather banal material, plastic beans net, jeans, hemp, translates the dual life of these women : workers at factory and later lacemakers

La Grâce de l`Incertitude

La Grâce de l`IncertitudeH 56" x W 54"  

The time of the Adolescence is a paradoxical and worrying phase, a period of doubt, rebellion and self affirmation before becoming adult but, above all to me, a period in which every choices are still possible in spite of the disturbing process on the way out of the chrysalid, it's « The Grace of the Uncertainty » ; the girl is sitting facing the wide range of the possibilities.

I transformed the shirt behind the girl pulling out the threads, unravelling the weft and rearranging the threads in new ways to symbolize and depict this period which is a lengthy process both in real life and in textile work. It's the same shirt but it seems different .

The adolescence is an « élan vital » (Bergsonian philosophy), so I embroidered curved lines going from bottom left to top right, and then added dancing squares.

Marinière et Pompons Rouges

Marinière et Pompons RougesH 40" x W 28"  

The « marinière » or striped sweater (a cotton long-armed shirt with horizontal blue and white stripes) and the « bachi » ( a hat with red pompom) are worn by quartermasters and seamen in the French Navy. I reinterpreted this marinière using a white long-armed shirt and blue stripes arranged  in a new way. These seamen’s sweaters are  « traps to catch the girls, in french : Piège à Demoiselles » because the seamen are known for making the girls dream because of their characteristic striped garment, their sailor hat with a red pompon, their travel stories, their adventures. Our imagination suggests that they leave a girl friend behind them in each harbour. This work depicts this fantasy.

Au Nom du Droit

Au Nom du DroitH 37" x W 42"  

The spectators  facing the work connects the panels as: potential victims (facing the left panel) or accidental killers (facing the right panel). I want these spectators to be part of the work because everyone is really involved in the fundamental debate about deliberate or accidental gun violence. I want to introduce a discussion to find a solution about this  societal problem, thus to consider all the different points of view before making a decision.

This work is double sided, the other side shows my own point of view! For this problem as for many crucial others, the children’s teaching may be the solution.

Missing Migrants

Missing MigrantsH 31' x W 28' x D 2'  

Out of  the  5386 migrants who have died or disappeared on the road to exile in 2017, 3119 (men, women, children) have gone missing in the process of migration toward Europe while crossing Mediterranean Sea (source : International  Organisation for Migration). These data  are  minimum estimates  as many deaths during migration go unrecorded.

« Missing Migrants » depicts this tragic and sadly habitual scenario that particularly touches me as  European. Not only humans perish during this dangerous journey but in addition the destruction of the family integrity and unity increases the complexicity of the integration in the host country, especially if the vulnerable: women or children find themselves alone.

Letting them die in the sea is not an option to reduce or solve the problem of migration. The immediate need is to save lives, so some NGO do with much difficulty.