The work of Elvire Bonduelle is most of the time about "action and contemplation, i.e. two opposite notions" as she says. The title of her exhibition 'Race and Rest' refers to this. In various ways she often plans what she calls mini-events. This is actually the way through which I found her work. In 2012 I bought some tombola tickets for a drawing event at Onestar Press in Paris. One evening she made drawings in front of a waiting audience holding their lottery tickets. Each ad hoc finished drawing was given away to the one who got the right tombola number. I was not in Paris and forgot about this completely. After three weeks an envelope dropped on my doormat and it appeared to be that I had won a drawing showing a motor bike in colour pencil. I was impressed by its evocative simplicity. Now she has her first solo show in The Netherlands.
Elvire Bonduelle says: "It is through my quest for happiness, developed in my practice since the beginning of 2000, that those two poles came into being. I realized that in my life making art was the best way to give room to both my body and my spirit. This is why I love making art; it involves two oppositions on the same level. One is sometimes fighting with materials, carrying heaving things, hurting your back, and sometimes while studying in libraries for hours, you think and try hard to understand what clever people expressed in books... So basically my intention, both in life as in my art, is to find a good balance between physical action and spirituality."
About her exhibition Elvire Bonduelle says: "In the exhibition there will be a lot of pieces linked to the idea of contemplation, holy things, spirituality, hope (for God's existence?) and belief (in life after Death?). I look at my oil paintings as true sacred art. Pure skies that makes you dream of a better life, open and beautiful and good. Their arcade shape with a mini altar piece and a new video called 'Maison Voiture Chien' /'House Car Dog' (with the number 3 a kind of Holy Trinity) refers to the Middle Ages, my favourite period for arts with very religious and naive and virtuous spirits. I feel a lot of tenderness and empathy with their human condition and I find it very present in this kind of pedagogical art (you know, they did these paintings mostly to teach religion to the people who couldn't read). I would like also to educate people even if I am just a poor little woman who didn't have a very strong experience of life ... But in my paintings there is nobody left, only the sky, maybe God and every one disappeared. Perhaps this is iconoclastic."
About her racing and resting Elvire Bonduelle says: "I like the idea of belief through this quest of happiness; maybe the only way to be happy is to believe in your own happiness. I spend a lot of energy brainwashing myself in believing I am happy, and it works! Being polite helps also a lot; you must be smiley, so you become truly smiley :-) To relax and take time for positive thoughts in the exhibition there will be cushions to sit on and on which one can have a comfortable break; our body needs to be rested to have a positive spirit. That's a good way to stay out stupidity, and even nasty situations sometimes; we are too nervous if I look around. It's like when I'm in a hurry on my bicycle and I scare the pedestrians by going very fast and very close to them and thinking "go away you bastard!" Very stupid of me, I hate myself when I do that!"
"The cushions in my exhibition are there with a purpose. They are about comfort. I mean, there is a piece of art on which you can have a rest. At the other hand there is conformity, this idea of standards and of social norms. One is running, i.e. one is getting a house, a car and a dog, some children, do this or that. This all in competition with the world we are living in. You even may want to have the most beautiful and powerful and nicest of them…. It is the story I tell in a song… and you wish to have a nice kitchen with a big oven for making the best cake..., which of course gives pleasure…So you have the video clip and the altarpiece directly related to the idea of racing, and the others are linked by opposition. Yes, sometimes you have to "Sit On It"!! I like the idea that you can sit on art: to say it isn't so precious and sacred than what (art) believers think. It is also iconoclast, in another way. Also I already made plenty of chairs, because I think they are our adaptors to earth, to life. Cushions are there, because I am getting older; I want comfort now!"