Michel Grillet

Infinite Landscapes
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Born in 1956 in Geneva, Michel Grillet studies at the city’s Advanced School of Visual Arts. Living near Lake Geneva, he has long enjoyed the lake and mountain environment, and has recorded it in his work for over twenty years.

In 1977 he decides to devote himself entirely to the theme of landscapes. His paintings are invariably named according to four generic titles, Montagne-Ciel (Mountain-Sky), Ciel-Étoilé (Stary-Sky), Eau-Ciel (Water-Sky) or Mémoire de paysage (Landscape Recollection). As the artist explains it, “This exploration of the transposition of the landscape is essentially articulated around notions linked with perception and memory, as well as a constant questioning of the image of nature and the nature of the image”. In 1993 he begins to shift away from the colourful compositions of his early years, eventually keeping only the range of ultramarines and the three-tone greys, which he develops in all their nuances.

In the silence of his studio, like the Genevan miniaturists of the 18th century, he works with the patience and precision of a watchmaker. Preferring smaller formats, the artist meticulously transcribes impressions or perceptions that are buried in his memory into meditative images, whose compositions recall the Japanese prints that are dear to his heart.

His entire output corresponds to three precise criteria, viz., the use of watercolour, the application of an infinite range of blues – sometimes bolstered by delicately evanescent colour backgrounds – and finally the depiction of mountainous landscapes, horizons or starry skies, all of which conjure up memories of landscapes.

The winner of a number of prizes and grants, he exhibited in Geneva (Mamco) in 2005; Japan (Bunkamura Museum, Tokyo) and Basel (the Beyeler Gallery) in 2006; in Aarau (Kunsthaus) in 2007; and, most recently, in Lugano (Museo Cantonale d’Arte) and Solothurn (Kunstmuseum) in 2008.

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