23 February 2023–8 April 2023

Fabienne Verdier: Energy Lines

23 February – 8 April 2023

Part of Alserkal Art Week

The first major solo exhibition of French artist Fabienne Verdier in the region, presented in collaboration with Christie’s.

Starts 23 February 2023

Ends 8 April 2023

Venue Custot Gallery Dubai

Warehouse 84


Custot Gallery Dubai, in collaboration with Christie’s Middle East, is delighted to present the first major solo exhibition of French artist Fabienne Verdier in the region. Energy Lines marks a new direction for Verdier, characterized by a long study of wavelengths of the colours of the rainbow and the memory of lines in nature.

First shown at Christie’s Middle East in Dubai, DIFC from the 9th of February as part of a private selling exhibition, before making its way to Custot Gallery Dubai on the 23rd of February, Energy Lines marks the first collaboration of its kind between the gallery and the auction house, joining forces to bring a leading contemporary artist to the region.

Comprising of 15 new works varying from monumental to smaller scale, the exhibition brings together vividly nuanced backgrounds and expressive lines recalling the forms of horizons, encountered and imagined.

Commenting on the exhibition, Stéphane Custot, Founder and Owner of Custot Gallery Dubai (and Waddington Custot, London) says: ‘I am honoured to be able to bring an entirely new body of work by Fabienne to Dubai accompanied by the artist herself. Through this astounding new series of work Fabienne demonstrates her commitment and appreciation to explore the landscape and energy of the Middle East painted with sweeps of bold colour and gestures, a fissure of energy across canvas, the works command attention; drawing inspiration from the natural world: mountains, clouds, dunes, and the ocean, creating a sense of the celestial’

Elaborating on this new series, the artist explains:

‘I have painted this series in memory of the lines that the mountains, the clouds, the dunes, the sea, the prairies draw in the distance. These lines, which seem static, are in constant motion. The course of the celestial beings that light our planet, the lights of the sun and moon transform, through their orbital revolutions, the perception of our horizons.

I first worked during long months on the coloured background of the canvases. I wanted the vibrations of the pigments to create fields of maximal energetic vibrations that vary depending on the light of day. A sort of void, inhabited by almost imperceptible microstructures, to immerge our visual cortex in the dynamism of the electromagnetic waves that makeup the colours of the rainbow’s spectrum. These waves possess extremely elevated frequencies, one million billions of oscillations per second. Each of these frequencies awakens in us a sensation of colour: I attempted to paint the green of fields in spring, the purple or pinks of the sky at dawn and the blues of a summer night.

The flow of a torrent, the runoff of a cascade, the deposits of morning dew, the lines of a landscape, the physiognomy of a forest, the form of an oasis, the impacts of rain on the ground, the roots or rootstocks of a plant, the flight of birds, the burgeoning of clouds, the movement of the dunes, the shape of bodies, the undulations of auroras, the curves of a stream, the lava flow of a volcano, the movement of tides, lightning in the sky, ridges of a mountain, the shapes of ice, winter mornings, the orbit of planets and stars in the sky ...

On the canvas, this play between the oscillation of the pigments, the gravitation of the circular waveforms of the paint, the ricochet of paint drops, the reflection of light on the channel of these traces, can remind us of our childhood strolls, our airplane journeys, our boat traversals, our mountain or desert hikes. With each step, horizon lines talk of the sound of wind, the roots of the earth, the nocturnal escapades, of the sight of land from a boat at dusk fall, of the ridge path at dusk, or of the horizon of enchantments.’


Fabienne Verdier was born in Paris in 1962 and enrolled in the Toulouse Académie des Beaux-Arts. Then, at the age of twenty, she developed a keen interest in bird flight and left for China in 1983, where she hoped to learn how to paint spontaneous lines of life from the last remaining masters of traditional Chinese painting. She became seriously ill some ten years later and returned to Europe at the age of thirty and in 2003 published Passagère du silence, dix ans d’initiation en Chine, which chronicles her apprenticeship with the master Huang Yuan. At this point she dropped easel painting and began working by standing over the canvas and letting the paint fall by the force of gravity.

Fabienne Verdier spent fifteen years developing her new way of painting. In 2006 she invented her trademark giant paintbrush and built her studio around it. The artist thus became a body- cum-paintbrush and her studio, a laboratory where she collaborates with musicians and scientists (astrophysicists, linguists, neuroscientists) to seize the forces that generate the forms. Fabienne Verdier is a land surveyor who makes totally novel maps and diagrams showing the energy flows crossing the universe, our brain, and our language, molding the landscapes around us. She criss-crosses the planet, from France to China and New York to the fjords of Norway and the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, depicting the world with complete spontaneity with her energy lines.