Writings on water | Exhibition at the Museum La Piscine, Roubaix

carolyn carlson essai2_vuSihamEarly on and all along her artistic career, Carolyn Carlson has always written, designed and painted. Her visual poetry can also be seen down on paper, as precious witness of her thoughts, relationship to nature, creation process, crazyness and humour too. The artist is more discreet about her graphic works. A unique work, where the gesture leaves a trace, the invisible becomes visible, as opposed to the ephemeral gesture of dance. 

From the first drawings on simple paper sheets to the abstract inks on Japanese papers, this unknown form of art of the choreographer will be exposed in La Piscine this summer.


carolyn carlson essai2_vuSiham3

« One stroke » comments Carolyn Carlson in front of her drawings: the hand grasping in a single move. The immediate reference, from her trips to Japan, is the ensō, searching for the perfect and spontaneous gesture, the balance between full and empty spaces.

Thus series of patterns are emerging, inspired by the elements (water, air), movements of nature (waves, birds) or more or less abstract dance figures and self-portraits returning to sheer motion. 

With her fascination for Japanese art, Carlson’s drawings relate to traditional abstract drawings by contemporary painters like Hans Hartung, Pierre Soulages or Oliver Debré, who created for her the scenery and costumes of the piece Signes in 1997 at the Paris Opera.


« Writings on water » from the choreographer’s eponimous piece, gives its name to this exhibition, inviting you to travel through the European cities on water of her residencies: Paris, Helsinki, Venice and Roubaix. The nomadic choreographer paid regular visit to the Museum La Piscine when she was Director of the National Choreographic Center.   

Curation: Hélène De Talhouët

Exhibition from July 1st to September 24, 2017 | Museum of Art and Industry André Diligent La Piscine, Roubaix

Exhibition catalogue to be published by Actes sud in June 2017