A retrospective of 50 years of creation of the visual artist Bistra Lechevalier.
Bistra Lechevalier, a visual artist and sculptor, was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, from a doctor mother and a lawyer father. Her childhood was struck by what she calls "a black period", which led her to aspire to more freedom, a key word in her life and work. As of 1946, Bulgaria became the People's Republic of Bulgaria; her father was, at the time, abducted and murdered. Circa 1950, she was admitted to the National Academy of Fine Arts of Sofia, in a way obeying the dictates of a dream: "My father came back to see my sculptures". In the course of her studies, she was declared an enemy of the people and was refused entry to the School. She was nonetheless determined to go on studying and she graduated in 1962. In 1964, she created the sculpture "Flight of birds" which expresses her powerful desire to be free. The meeting with Jacques Lechevalier induced her to leave Bulgaria and settle in Mortagne-au-Perche in Normandy. Bistra's work began with portraits made from memory then sculptures. In the years 1970, she became acquainted with Alain Oudin in Paris, at the Claude Hemery gallery, showing "The Windows". She afterwards exhibited at his gallery on several occasions. Through this meeting, she got in touch with a "Gutai
" artist: Takesada Matsutani
who introduced her to Japan and with whom she often shared exhibitions at the Rosa Turetsky gallery in Geneva. Through him she met Sadaharu Horio, another major Gutai figure, with whom she would frequently exhibit in Japan. She then developed a strong link with Japan and Japanese culture. As a matter of fact, she often showed her work in Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka and Nichimomiya. In 1990, she achieved a wide-ranging project in the Toussaint Crypt ("Crypte de Toussaint"), in Mortagneau- Perche, called "The myth of the Japanese mirror". The installation was crucial for her and her husband too, Jacques Lechevalier, who decided to turn their flat into a workshop. she thereafter exhibited her works in Geneva, Aarhus and Paris. In 2004, thirty years after her exile from Bulgaria, she for the first time exhibited her installation "the Unbearable Lightness of Being" in Baltchik, then in Sofia, her native town.
Her artistic purpose mainly relates to spontaneity through the search for new forms. She uses varied materials such as paper, pulp paper, resin, rubber, lead, cast aluminium and bronze, enabling her to mobilize a fluid gesture and call at the same time nature and the complexity of the used materials. From plaster to the play of volumes, the sculpture three dimensions fill the eye up to imagination. From her universe, she creates a new language of organic, natural forms she intertwines with a process of instant actualization. As she has it: "I'm working all night long and I wake up tired." Bistra Lechevalier dreams and creates in the moment. Her fully free movement and thought build up a deeply energetic work.