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« Hanieh Delecroix signs her works with her first name and a full stop.


Like a little note left conspicuously on the kitchen table or on a pillow. A deferred tenderness, addressed to the other – husband, child, friend or an imaginary correspondent. From her former practice as a psychologist Hanieh has retained the idea of an encounter between two unconscious states.


‘The truth is not in my possession, I impose nothing,’ she says. With her young patients, Hanieh would weave together bonds of tenderness. The sole means of aiding them to live with their burden of memories, to free them. An artist and video producer, she once again dares this spiritual complicity with the viewer, who will have the opportunity to take a look at one of her all too human messages so as not to resonate with our deepest hurts. 


One remembers the words chosen by Albertine de Galbert to present her exhibition, ‘The Right Distance,’: ‘often devalued, because considered to be the prerogative of children, the aged and women – the weak, in short – tenderness is however a great strength of resilience when faced with acts of violence carried out against the body and the mind.’ 


The universe of Hanieh Delecroix is full of scars, bruises to the soul, black holes of submerged pain and dark clarity. If her work is sensitive, it is because she has first of all taken the metaphorical path, bare footed over broken glass, which gave her the right to admit her frailties. 

An artist, she has chosen to cherish her sorrows – her words. She embraces, she takes in her arms, she intones in French and in Persian, her native language, these words which were capable of harming her and which torment her still. 


The thoughts which haunt her, she places them down on small sheets of paper, pebbles, balloons, like so many messages in a bottle without a bottle, which one discovers without getting one’s feet wet. Her flaws, of that there is no doubt, encounter the flaws of others to build up a silent dialogue. 

In one scene from the film* she has devoted to her father, Hanieh shows a white haired man who, having forgotten everything, nevertheless remembers the essential, the lines of verse from a poem he himself has composed, and which say it all: ‘Let’s go and see together.’ One memory masks another memory, screens it – Freud, inevitably Freud.


Into her griefs and those of others, Hanieh thus dips the nib of her pen. To them she dedicates her life in an artistic practice where the paper evokes the skin, the delicate, oh so fragile, container of this treasure one calls the stuff of humanity. With Joyce Mansour she has taken a journey of exploration, admiring how the rebel had contained her screams, her heartaches and, to be frank, her madness, in an envelope of words.


A Balzac novel, Louis Lambert, considered to be partially autobiographical, written in the first person, whispered to her the idea of a line of thought split in two, which she has developed rather than illustrated on the unfolded pages of an accordion-book. 

Her most recent works, using tracing paper, extend research carried out on sheets containing almost translucent Japanese fibres (Above All, 98x20,000cm, 2019), and then on linen. Self-effacement, always. 



At times the figures traced on acrylic and the material which carries them seem to disappear simultaneously, like in a cinema cross-dissolve which leaves the viewer with nothing more than an impression. An emotion. A new memory which will accompany them for the continuation of the journey.  In Hanieh’s work there is the gift and the counter-gift. 


The artist is not up above but at the same height, heart against heart, dream against dream. The repetition of the word Love, in its Christian sense, evidently, acts as a balm to appease our primitive terrors. The piece by Hanieh Delecroix which is exhibited at the British Museum, more than any other, doubtless, evokes at one and the same time the lifelines on the palm of a hand and repeated intoning.


In her workshop, open to the sounds of the house and the playground of the school next door, Hanieh also imagines minimal installations. With the patience of a hunter cobbling together her trap, or of a prankster exulting in advance over her next triumph, she prepares the apparatus which will bifurcate the too tranquil line of thought. The pleasure principle is not only the title of one of her performances – it is the serious remit of a monastic work.

In the space of a single moment, the work calls to mind a fragrance, an emotion, a buried thought. The smiles which then materialise thus often express joy and distress combined. It is up to each of us to decide if the black should prevail, or the blue. 


The black, the blue. Amongst others, a meeting with Takesada Matsutani, searching for her ‘interior image’, gave Hanieh the daring to invent her own range of gestures. 

Perhaps there is also something of Lee Ufan in the vertiginous transparencies, and of Jean Dupuy, with his graffiti graphology and his double-meaning poetry. 

Unhesitatingly, she follows in the same vein identified by Catherine Grenier in her essay, ‘The Revenge of Emotions’: ‘trauma, Vanity, the grotesque, animality, immaturity are zones of exploration into which art invites us to reconnect with a form of sensitive understanding: poignant understanding. 


That which liberates an emotional resonance, is the affirmation of human beings in their imperfection, in their finiteness.’


In searching to pierce mysteries, Hanieh, fully aware of what she is doing, creates new ones, extending the thread of life. »


Texte Daniel Bernard

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