Colette Portal makes time stand still and explores the poetry of everyday life. She invites us to observe the never-ending miracle of nature. Through around a hundred works, watercolours, coloured inks, etchings and drypoints, graphite pencil on Vinci paper, photographs… she brings us stories of nature. We hear the sound of the wind and the rain, the rustling of dead leaves, we breathe in the earth and the morning dew, we feel the rhythmic heartbeat of nature and its myriad extraordinary creatures: bugs, beetles, iguanas, ladybirds, whose detail and shimmering colours transport us to the reality of a Parisian garden.
Starting with her first great creations and ending in the 1990s, the exhibition took the form of a fascinating subterranean journey to learn about the life of a queen ant (La vie d’une reine, 1962), a land journey during which we observe moments frozen in time in the gardens of Paris (Le jardin de Buffon, 1978-1983), and a celestial journey through the seasons in her etchings.
As Bruno Gaudichon (curator of the Piscine-Musée d’art et d’industrie André Diligent in Roubaix) wrote in his interview with Colette Portal in May 1991, it’s about taking photographs in order to draw better or drawing in order to check the snapshot better, bringing things to life in order to restore its own truth which becomes our own conviction.
Hers is multi-faceted work in which designs, photographs and animation coalesce in a rich and essential synergy.