Alexandre Dujardin’s exquisite drawings are composed of patterns and textures borrowed from nature; images of flowers, insects, animals and humans are interwoven to create a cosmic balance, an ecosystem of interdependence, a tribute to universal harmony. They are reminiscent of meditative mandalas taking the viewer to a journey in the heart of the forest, in ancient times of creation, in his or her own body and mind. Dujardin’s elaborate drawing technique stands somewhere between scientific illustrations utilized for taxonomy by natural history museums, and Renaissance character portraits in chiaro-scuro.
About the Artist
Curator İpek Yeğinsü reflects on Alexandre Dujardin’s acclaimed, ongoing series:
Alexandre Dujardin's 2012 series composed of five drawings - Let Me Tell You a Story, Don’t Be Sad Little Girl, Reflection, Toad and Water Lilly, Wings for Sonia- is related to the short story "The Adventures of Sonia Ploum". The story that comes into the artist's mind after some drawings created unpurposefully, allows the series to eventually reach completion. Dujardin then asks his author friend Coco Delesalle to put the story into words and they work together on its final version. Our heroine is a little girl named Sonia Ploum, who feels lonely, taking a promenade with a balloon in her hand. Seeing her saddened by the absence of someone to tell her she is loved, first a wolf comes to her rescue and she rides him. Meanwhile Sonia's balloon suddenly escapes and although she is saddened again, all the characters she encounters throughout her adventure respectively console and encourage her; they tell her to persist in her journey and that she will surely find her balloon. The text has no real finale; the story ends in Dujardin's mind with images without words; the little girl flies away with a little boy on a butterfly's back and they spread colours onto the landscapes they fly upon. It is sensed that Sonia's journey to find her balloon takes her to a different place where she matures and her loneliness comes to an end. At this point, Sonia no longer needs the balloon. Thus Dujardin's childlike but melancholic imagery carries the viewer away and perfectly overlaps with the concept of "The Quest", the exhibition's conceptual backbone.
Alexandre Dujardin’s 2013 Aenima series include four drawings composed of patterns and textures borrowed from nature; images of flowers, insects, animals and humans are interwoven to create a cosmic balance, an ecosystem of interdependence, a tribute to universal harmony. They are reminiscent of meditative mandalas taking the viewer to a journey in the heart of the forest, in ancient times of creation, in his or her own body and mind. Dujardin’s elaborate drawing technique stands somewhere between scientific illustrations utilized for taxonomy by natural history museums, and Renaissance character portraits in chiaro-scuro.
In Aenima, the brain, the heart and the butterfly are at the center of the composition. The two organs are the principal control centers of the human body and its most primitive reflexes; the brain controls breath and the heartbeat, and the heart keeps the brain alive by feeding it with oxygene. There is thus a symbiotic relationship between them, a duo without which the entire system would collapse. Interestingly, they are often used to symbolize opposing concepts. While the brain is a metaphor for cold rationality devoid of feelings, the heart is the symbol of the soul and the emotions working against the rational mind. In Dujardin’s works these counterbalancing forces are combined to sustain the entire ecosystem, endowing it with both its soul and its mind. The butterfly, on the other hand, refers to a continuous cycle; its short but significant life is filled with stages of radical transformation, parallel with our own path. How we employ our mind and soul in coping with our own transformation is probably the most important question of our existence.
Alexandre Dujardin is a young artist currently living in Berlin. After his studies in illustration and painting at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg he decided to leave his native region to reach the capital of art several years ago. At first, he worked on his painting in a squatt during one year, then applied for the big ateliers Berlin had to offer like Raw tempel, where he spent one year, and then the Bethanien Kulturhaus and its studios where he currently practises his art. He now works as an award winning (Chioggia, Italy) freelance illustrator for publishers and magazines in Germany and France and exhibits his paintings and illustrations in France, Italy, Germany and Turkey.