Currer Bell Residency #4 – Fleur Leclère

Fleur Leclère, former student of ESADHaR Le Havre Rouen, started her residency in Saint-Nazaire earlier this year.

Find a first publication of her research below in which she connects to an illustrated text made in 2018, La commode carmin or The carmine chest of drawers.

Since the spring I have been looking forward to making summer dyes from primrose, blackberry, elderberry and other wild berries. I am attracted to the shades of colour they can produce. From my childhood I have memories of blackberry and elderberry jelly. Moments of picking, at the edge of gardens, roads, fields and abandoned barns in the village. These berries, round, fleshy and greedy, with their soft and smooth flesh, seemed to me like treasures, and the reward for the sting of brambles and the heavy heat. The warmth of the fruit and the dampness of the air and the body merged. The human body and the body of the fruit were full of water. The bounty of the flesh spread out, staining our fingers. Once this stage was over, the fruit was macerated with the sugar in the copper basin. Once the cooking stage was over, it was time for the pressing. This involved turning and pressing the cloth filled with the cooked sweet fruit to extract the liquid. An almost black juice. As it dried on the cloth, the colour faded and darkened. The most beautiful colour for me was that of the fruit being crushed by the cloth, a “hot plum”. We should be able to fix this stage for eternity.

We are at the end of the summer and unfortunately the blackberries have not had favourable weather. So I can’t find many blackberries for dyeing. So instead of enjoying the abundance offered by these berries, I find myself faced with tiny or already sunburnt fruits. So I wonder more about this shrub and in particular its location. The bramble is often found on the edge of a field, and is also invasive, growing on poor land. It can proliferate on unoccupied land or invade other plants. A tough bramble weed, it can grow back after being pulled up. Could my work take into account this presence that is both “on the edge” and invasive, that is chased away, but as if insistent and invincible? A mixture between love and hate, between cohabitation and rejection.

Depuis le printemps je rêvais avec impatience, de faire l’été venu, des teintures de roses-tremières, mûres, sureaux, et autres baies sauvages. J’ai un attrait pour les nuances de couleurs qu’elles peuvent produire. De mon enfance je garde des souvenirs liés à la gelée de mûre et de sureau. Des moments de cueillette, en bordure de jardin, de route, de champ et de granges abandonnées du village. Ces baies, rondes charnues et gourmandes, à la chair douce et lisse m’apparaissaient comme des trésors, et la récompense face aux piqûres de ronces et à la chaleur pesante. Chaleur des fruits et moiteur de l’air et du corps se confondaient. Corps humain et corps du fruit gorgés d’eau. La générosité de la chair se répandait en nous colorant les doigts. Cette étape terminée, venait celle de la macération des fruits avec le sucre dans la bassine de cuivre. L’étape de cuisson terminée, venait celle du pressage. Il s’agissait de tourner et presser le torchon rempli des fruits sucrés cuits pour en extraire le liquide. Un jus presque noir. En séchant sur le torchon, la couleur ternissait et s’assombrissait. La couleur la plus belle était, pour moi, celle du fruit en train d’être écrasé par le torchon, un « prune chaud ». Il faudrait pouvoir fixer cette étape pour l’éternité. 

Nous sommes à la fin de l’été et malheureusement les mûres n’ont pas eu un temps favorable. Je trouve donc peu de mûres pour la teinture. Ainsi au lieu de jouir de l’abondance offerte par ces baies, je me retrouve face à des fruits minuscules ou déjà brûlés par le soleil. Ainsi je m’interroge davantage sur cet arbrisseau et notamment son implantation. La ronce se situe souvent en bordure, en lisière, et est également invasive, poussant sur des terres pauvre. Elle peut proliférer sur des terrains inoccupés ou bien encore envahir d’autres plantes. Mauvaise herbe ronce robuste, elle peut repousser après avoir été arraché. Mon travail pourrait-il rendre compte de cette présence à la fois « en lisière » et invasive, que l’on chasse, mais comme insistante et invincible ? Un mélange entre amour et haine, entre cohabitation et rejet. 

The carmine chest of drawers

A cloth that was caught between the chest drawer and the body of the chest came out of the dark. In reality it wasn’t a cloth, but several tiny pieces of fabric joined together, which emerged when I pulled one end.

The first was candy pink like the Barbie stamp I used as a signature.

The second was opera red, like Mum’s arms in a corduroy wrap bodysuit, scented by Chanel No. 19.

The third was oxblood red like the different pieces of meat so scary in the middle of synthetic red roses, me hiding behind the column.

The fourth was candy pink like this three-tiered yoghurt birthday cake with icing and pale pink marzipan roses.

The fifth was fuchsia pink, like the colour Dad liked but didn’t wear.

The sixth was jelly pink, like the colour blackberries leave on the tea towel after they have been squeezed to make the famous jelly, the red that the juice leaves in the grooves of the hand, the flesh of the fruit and the flesh of the body mingle.

The seventh was plum tart red like the circled patterns that the plum halves form on the pastry.

The eighth was onion peel red like the colour of the plum juice mixed with the scoop of vanilla ice cream melted on the tart.

The ninth was carmine red like the first cherry embroidered in stem stitch on a white canvas.

The tenth was aubergine red like the first scarf knitted too short and with holes.

The eleventh was girlish pink, like the tank top knitted from cotton that was wider than it was long and showed the navel.

The twelfth was raspberry pink, like the acrylic knitted dress that was more tight than flared.

The thirteenth was fluorescent pink, as discreet as my mother’s jogging suits when she picked me up from school.

The fourteenth was purple pink, like the intimidated cheeks when a pretty girl talks to you and you try to listen to her, or at least to give the illusion that you’re not just contemplating her person, or at least her body.

The fifteenth was nacarat red, like the cherry of which I dream, held by the fine, delicate, white hand of the odalisque stretched out on her meridian looking at you.

The sixteenth was metallic fuchsia pink, as ugly as Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog sculpture in front of the François Pinault Foundation in Venice.

The seventeenth was a deceptive pink where the pink has lost all its brilliance, which has become grey, car grey, carpet grey, dirty windows grey, architecture grey, sky grey.

The eighteenth was peachy pink, like the architectural stripes of the Grand’Mare high-rise buildings.

The nineteenth was fleshy pink, like babies that we don’t know how to carry, that seem to be lunatic to the extreme, oscillating between smiles and tears.

The twentieth was old pink, like the Jardin de Mimi patchwork with triangles of pink and green cameos that is falling apart on my chair.

The twenty-first was Mountbatten pink like the edges of the school’s playground roof.

The twenty-second was salmon pink like the box containing a whole salmon that a man was carrying on the bus this morning.

The twenty-third was future pink like the unknown but charming future.

The twenty-fourth may be scarlet like after reading this text.

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