Skip to content

May 12, 2017


Passagère du Silence

by NancyElin

  • Author: Fabienne Verdier
  • Title: Passagère du Silence
  • Published: 2003


In 1985, at 22, Fabienne Verdier left for China to study at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in Chongqing. She devoted 10 years of her life in China to follow the ardous study needed to master calligraphy.
This book takes the reader on her journey trying to ‘fit in’, making herself heard (language barrier) and finally learning from her maître Huang not only the essence of painting…but of  life.
“Nourish your spirit not only through ‘book knowledge’ (connaissance livresque)…but more importantly. Nourish your spirit through
the reality that surrounds you, your dreams your memories.”
After becoming the first foreign woman to be awarded a post-graduate diploma in fine arts by the institute, Verdier began to create her own new abstract painting.

Desk where she works in solitude to prepare her paintings.


She uses large Chinese brushes to draw, that are mounted to an iron beam that hangs from the ceiling high studio 12 meter. The brushes are made by horse’s tails and they absorb a large amount of color. It is a real body dance where all the movements are smooth and graceful.



  1. This book is about an amazing woman who dared to achieve her dream.
  2. Calligraphy is a passage of silence.
  3. In Verdier’s quest for silence she attempted to
  4. …find the fundamental unity of the universe and mystical beauty. (ch 12)
  5. The training was rigorous. Her maîtres were demanding.
  6. She spent months just drawing horizontal lines.
  7. When she asked to paint with color….she was told no.
  8. She must first learn that in monochrome, ‘l’encre de Chine’ there are
  9. a million and one lights of the universe.
  10. After I finished this book …I slept a deep, deep sleep.
  11. It was the strangest effect the book had on me.
  12. I have struggled for many years to learn French, reading and reading for hours.
  13. One piece of advice maître Huang gave
  14. …Fabienne Verdier resonnated in me:
  15. Stop thinking, wanting, calculating. Don’t force yourself or try to extract something
  16. out of yourself (master the French language, in my case…) at all costs.
  17. Go outside, talk to a bird, regret nothing…that should be your inspiration.
  18. Then and only then…will you create art.

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. May 13 2017

    What an unusual left-field book choice – but really interesting. I could do with applying that brilliant quote myself – not to mastering French perhaps(!) – but a couple of other things! And bizarre as it may seem I’m intrigued to know what she did after China. Any idea?

    • May 13 2017

      Col, I added bij ‘conclusion’ a link so you can watch Verdier at work. It is fascinating! The huge ‘painting brush’ weighs 60 kg! PS: see you on 24th of May in Stockholm….Man U vs Ajax ‘the clash of the titains’ !

      • May 13 2017

        The films are fascinating – not only watching what’s created but there’s something very graceful and beautiful about how it is created! Wish could say same for our semi-final win over Celta – but was largely luck! But now looking forward to 24th May!!!!!

      • May 13 2017

        I will see you in Stockholm….!

    • May 13 2017

      Col, here is a link with Verdier’s coming expositions (it is in English). NEWS about Fabienne Verdier.

  2. tracybham
    May 13 2017

    What perseverance that woman had (has?). Very interesting story.

    • May 13 2017

      Verdier’s dedication is once of the characteristics in her personality that I admired the most. I know what it is like to go to a strange country and not know the language ….but Chinese is the ultimate challenge! Verdier explains a few artists go to China to learn the basic ‘tricks’ of calligraphy. She knew that she had to learn not only the technique but also the philosophy behind this ancient art. That takes years of study and meditation! I hope you did watch the ‘creative process’ on the link ‘HERE’. It is fascinating to see how she works.

  3. Beautiful! I loved the pictures, I loved hearing about her training (it sounds so intense!), and I loved reading your review. The bulleted list format makes it seem like poetry.

    • Jul 31 2017

      Thank you so much for your comments about Passagère du Silence.
      It was a book about a very impressive female artist, Fabienne Verdier.
      I hope you enjoyed watching the CREATIVE PROCESS click on Verdier’s website.
      You can find the link named Pneuma on the left hand side on the screen just below the first slide show of her works. Agan…thanks for stopping by!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. #NonFicNov 2017 Week 1 | NancyElin
  2. Goodbye….2017 | NancyElin
  3. The Classics Club: 50 questions | NancyElin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.