LE TAROT ESSENTIEL : an exhibition, a game, and a book
Andrea Wedell, painter - Françoise Bitton, writer

The idea for Le Tarot Essentiel emerged when painter Andrea Wedell met astrologer Françoise Bitton. As a result, Wedell produced paintings representing the 22 arcana (trump cards), and Bitton interpreted them and wrote an initiatory story that forms a guide to the Tarot cards. From 1 to 30 March 2010, the paintings will be on show at the Galerie BE-Espace, Paris. The book La Légende du Tarot (Arcadia Editions), in a presentation case including the Tarot deck designed by the artist, will also be launched during this period.

With these large format tarot cards (100 x 80 cm), Andrea Wedell offers a contemporary take on an ancestral pictorial tradition. Painting is a vital aspect of her quest for the truth, and there are clear parallels between her artistic approach and Tarot. Deciphering, finding keys, finding a path…Andrea asks all these questions via symbolism based on colour. She has created her own colour palette, blending the powers of earth and fire and the subtle shades of air and water in a free interpretation of the 22 major arcana. Wedell prefers abstract painting to the figurative tradition as a medium for her world of mirrors and reflections. She has a faultless sense of composition and subtle balance, mixing oil paints with pigments in order to produce vivid or pastel-shaded chromatic variations that are always dense and deep, and texturing the surface using a brush or knife. The forms are simple, ostensibly naïve and yet charged with vibrant symbolism.

For astrologer Françoise Bitton, the Tarot is the common thread that links questions about existence and provides a way of moving along the path of knowledge. When she first saw Wedell’s paintings, she immediately felt she was in the presence of something unique and meaningful, and naturally adopted them and used them in her work. She then went further, inventing a legend and a game whose heroes revisit both classic Tarot and Wedell’s abstract, subjective and colourful “card-paintings”. Each arcana is named, thus opening an interpretative door.

The unique and precise language used by Bitton and the chromatic subtlety of the cards created by Wedell invite us to take part in our own initiation, as each ‘player’ is drawn into a creative and symbolic world. Interpretation means allowing oneself to anticipate, address and respond to different situations encountered throughout our lives. Le Tarot Essentiel is a wonderful companion on the road to enlightenment.

Gallery director Brian Elliott Rowe invites us to embark on just such a journey. The exhibition includes all the original paintings, and also showcases the newly published book La Légende du Tarot by Françoise Bitton, published by Arcadia Editions and presented in a special boxed set including the deck of cards designed by Andrea Wedell.

American-born artist Andrea Wedell has lived in Paris for about twenty years. She became fascinated by many different art forms as a young child, especially dance, theatre and painting. Always closely linked to her quest for the truth, her paintings are fuelled by her philosophical musings and her curiosity about the world at large; her paintings are suffused with light and vibrant colour, forming a rainbow of emotions.

Françoise Bitton has always been immersed in the art world. Her father was a painter, her grandfather a composer and musician. She chose an unconventional path and studied two disciplines in parallel: astrology and theology. She is passionate about self-improvement, learning, and sharing knowledge, and has written two books: L’Homme Dévoilé and L’Harmonie Retrouvée.