Paris + by Art Basel | Veillée d’armes

Foire 19 October 2022 - 23 October 2022

Address : Grand Palais Éphémère, avenue Pierre Lotti, Paris 75007

Paris + by Art Basel | Booth F18

Duo show Anne-Charlotte Finel | Nathanaëlle Herbelin, curated by Noam Alon


Veillée d’armes is a notion describing a sleepless night, during which one prepares oneself for a delicate action. Its origins are related to the night before one becomes a knight, or goes out to the battlefield. During this night, sleeping time is replaced by a long meditation, dedicated either to soothing anxiety or improving strategy. The silent ambiance the night offers can, however, evoke both tranquility and stress. Not sleeping is usually associated with insomnia, but the Veillée d’armes is a voluntary decision to stay awake, to overcome physical needs and to endure a mental process aimed at cleansing the mind. This moment allows for an assessment of past events, and an anticipation of different eventualities that the future might bring.

Nathanaëlle Herbelin’s paintings oscillate between the two poles of this very tension: though they seem at first sight to present serene quotidian spaces, something in their quietness implies the existence of hidden entities, voices from the past or even ghosts. The presence of the painter herself as an observer is embedded in her paintings, which adds a layer of a certain voyeurisme. This is not for the sake of pleasure, but more likely as a highly concentrated attempt to investigate the depicted scene in order to reveal a latent layer, unfolded between the daily objects. The paintings gathered for this duo exhibition are all referring to a twilight zone, between light and darkness, resonating with Nietzche’s Night Song: “It is night: alas that I must be light! And thirst for the nocturnal! And loneliness! / It is night: now my longing breaks out of me like a well – I long to speak. / It is night: now all fountains speak more loudly. And my soul too is a fountain.”

In contrast to the domestic space, Anne-Charlotte Finel’s video documents moments of dusk in a liminal location: the airstrip, between the earth and the sky, a space of transience where human beings remain anonymous, a nonplace. Anne-Charlotte insists to find, and then to direct our sight, towards living creatures that nevertheless inhabit this peculiar site. Perplexed by the ever-changing lights and the recurring immense engine noises, the doves, the crows and even the foxes are engaging in Veillée d’armes, neither fully asleep nor fully awake, in between, preparing for a potential threat or treat to appear. The somehow grainy visuals, affected by the play of colorful flashing lights, create in like manner this blurry state, in the seams of daydreaming and of holding onto fleeting memories.

Nathanaëlle Herbelin and Anne-Charlotte Finel invite us to depart from earthly factual reality towards a hypnotic state, where the possibility to immerse oneself within dimness appears. Instead of formulating clear ideas, we feel as though we are hovering, gazing upon things, preparing to land again soon.


Exhibition views: Studio Shapiro

Press release (PDF)

Vernissage : 19/10/2022 12:00 am

Curator : Noam Alon

Exhibition's artists >