Art & Design

Body Meets Canvas 

Paris based performance artist Caroline Denervaud has a unique practice translating dance into fluid form compositions complete with evocative recordings

From a young age, Denervaud always wanted to be a dancer and she enrolled at the Laban Conservatoire in London, the school that blends ballet, modern dance, choreography and music. Her dreams were thwarted after suffering an injury and she began seeking new ways to express herself. How could she adapt her form of performance into painting? She developed an ingenious method that starts with movement and ends with the paint brush. “Like a translation of energy,” says Denervaud.

Denervaud treats each canvas like a standalone act, taking on a persona or attitude inspired by theatrical costumes she truffles out at flea markets. Her practice starts with a ‘Trace’ whereby Denervaud presses record and lays atop the canvas with charcoal on hand to outline her movement. “The process of the Trace is quite short as your brain craves to jump from the here and now to analysis - so I always try to ‘step off’ before I’ve jumped too far ahead and begin to overthink,” explains the artist who values instinct over analysis. Since her first show in Lille in 2014 she has attracted a cult following and recently exhibited in NYC with Lobster Club Gallery and her work is in the permanent installation at London’s NOMAD hotel. 

Caroline and 'Le Grand Battement Orange'

@carolinedenervaud // Instagram

'Traces & Dresses' for le Monde d’Hermès 79

@carolinedenervaud // Instagram

“We have a lot of problems with perfection... if I surprised myself with the recording, watching my body take on new movements and trying something new… if I let myself ‘play,’ then I am most proud of the work.”

Caroline Denervaud

What was the first piece of work that inspired you?

Pina Bausch choreography: the German dancer’s neo-expressionist work is so powerful, so sincere and strong. 

What guides your palette? 

I always start with pink, it’s my comfort hue and playing with colour adds an additional layer of narrative to each piece. Although the lighting is controlled in my studio, the shorter colder days of winter induce fiercer colourways.

Which creatives inspire you?

What I appreciate is an artist's journey and an attention to creating something unique.

'Sunday on Paper'

@carolinedenervaud // Instagram

Performing the Trace

@carolinedenervaud // Instagram

'Milano 10/21'

@carolinedenervaud // Instagram

Your uniform outside of roleplay?

I see myself as a bit of a chameleon and I’ve recently discovered Ann Demeulemeester: the shirts are beautiful and I am always looking for the perfect white shirt. I so respect the work of Jean Paul Gaultier and Dries Van Noten which exude such confidence and knowhow.

Tell us about your audience? 

It has really grown quickly in the U.S. and I will be showcasing new work in L.A. this November at Simard Bilodeau Gallery and with Double V Gallery in Miami at Untitled during Miami Art Basel. Next year, I will be hosting a solo show in Paris and a special event at Teatro San Materno in Switzerland and being Swiss born, I’m excited to push new boundaries. 

'Silence' 2023

Caroline Denervaud // Line Sheet


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