MICHELE FRANK & RENE WIROTH
Michèle Frank and René Wiroth are among the very rare individuals, placing their art very high, who cannot live without it while keeping their hearts open for the world around them. Without false gravitas or flippancy, they take their aspiration to universality in the community which surrounds them. Their thirst for understanding drives them to have confidence in human beings rather than easily sought out ideas. And yet in this circular trip with the real world, they have finally chosen beauty. This sense of beauty cannot be confused with the idea of goodness versus evil. In their work a sense of morality surfaces which -- being neither angelic nor demonic – cannot be defined. Their art neither aggresses nor does it hold up a mirror to the viewers’ own internal vision. It takes the spectator into its world; it creates intimacy.
Do not be mistaken, as the work that you have between your hands clearly shows, their presence in the world expresses itself in two extremely different manners. Two artists, two personalities, two temperaments, two techniques. Confusion between the two artists is impossible.
The painting of Michèle Frank has crossed every border leaving form and movement the care of speaking of liberty; of her truth. A way of painting which cannot be retold, which resists the cruelty of time as does a modern woman: rather than a posture, let us say Roman or antic, we see the emotion, we hear the plaintive cry, we submit to the enthusiasm of the lines. It is not all of a piece but everything is true, nothing is false, everything bursts with the force of the obvious, a spiritual vivacity. Nothing is inaccessible. There are tempests on these canvases where one sometimes hears a welling up as of a heavy foreboding but look, listen, each time it is life itself that carries the day. Everything supports the flaming image of an abstract romanticism which has stripped itself of mysticism and the supernatural keeping only a filigree of human vulnerability.
And it is here in this obstinate fragility that René Wiroth joins Michèle Frank; he whose sensitive statuary is at the heart of man. Tenderness bathes his white personages as if they were pensive mimes just as it impregnates the bronzes which seem to have been suddenly stopped in their flight. These personages have, like René, their hearts on their sleeves, love is strapped across their chests. These recent productions have the dignity of a tightrope walker when he knows he is being watched and fears a fall. René Wiroth does not search the sky because the sky is walking with him; he is above, somewhere in a mist of happiness watching over us with friendship and melancholy. His personages are the children of paradise. We want to speak to them but do not dare for fear of breaking their solitary dream. Would they speak if we queried them? For what reason? They are already speaking to us.
In 2001, they assembled some of their work in a first album, “Gold and Clay.” They return today after several breathtaking years during which their production has grown in number and in depth. They are publishing a second album that I have seen with jubilation. You will visit their world, I am sure, with the same pleasure. Today, René Wiroth’s statues suggest more than they impose. The new material used by the artist gives personages an evident movement, a graceful serenity and an assertive tranquility which looks directly into your eyes. -- Without fear, without reproach. The paintings of Michèle Frank have kept their force and their vigor but today they offer us a sort of ‘fixed explosion’ to use André Breton’s expression.
René Wiroth and Michèle Frank have not worked in vain in the course of these six years. Their talent is now acknowledged. In Luxembourg, the exhibitions have multiplied, the public has come in growing numbers. “The Fifth Season” that they showed at Bourglinster castle took its title from a painting of Michèle Frank where she expressed so very well the new sense of the artist, multiplying lines, inflaming movement. Europe, the construction of which the two artists are so attached has come to meet them by asking René Wiroth to conceive the prize given each year by the Fondation Edmond Israel to a “ European Great”. In 2008 it was Jean-Claude Trichet, the Governor of the European Central Bank who received the statue. Moreover in Europe their works have traveled, notably in France and Germany and been welcomed in the United States. In New York, they exhibited at the National Arts Club, Gramercy Park, a brilliant institution in the heart of the city which for decades has had great artists among its members.
Albert Camus said in “Weddings” a work of his youth, that “Everything which exalts life contributes at the same time to its absurdity.” Open this album, then see the works of Michèle Frank and René Wiroth. You will be held as I was by the exaltation of life which it gives off and like Albert Camus, you will then consider that absurdity is a beginning and not an end. Our liberty is to live our life, our liberty is to love René Wiroth and to love Michèle Frank.