Light & Shadow
What is the void full of?

How does one introduce infinity into the confines of a canvas?

Exhibition views


Acrylic on canvas, 120×80 cm (height x width) and 120×80 cm (height x width), unique piece

Memory, childhood, and time are ubiquitous themes in Emmanuelle Michaux’s work.

In this exhibition, the artist brings together a body of works between light and shadow, all of which bear witness, in their own ways, to the impossibility of disappearance.

As astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan puts it, the void “is the source of everything: the universe, the stars, the galaxies…in short, life!”

In Chinese painting, “emptiness” and “fullness” are two concepts related to Taoist philosophy which, along with the principles of yin (black, moon, darkness) and yang (white, sun, light), denote two distinct but interdependent elements.

These concepts of “emptiness” and “fullness” are not opposites; rather, they embody positions on a given pictorial surface that afford us a view of the universe. “Fullness” refers to the forms that are drawn: the mountains, the rocks; “emptiness” refers to the absence of form: the sky, or the water.

The “emptiness” does not, therefore, correspond to the “nothing” of Western philosophy, nor to an absolute absence of something, an absence that would mean nothingness or death.

In art, as in the universe, nothing seems possible without the Void; indeed, “fullness” depends on it.
These opposites complement each other and form a harmonic unity.

This is the paradoxical and spiritual union that Emmanuelle Michaux explores in this exhibition, with a series of works on a variety of mediums, all of which take black, white, and gold as their sole visual bases.

Solo exhibition at the Boa Gallery in Paris, 28 September to 24 November 2023