Spiritualistic monotypes by Amélie Vidgrain
On the pages of a notebook, Amélie Vidgrain expresses, through blue monotypes, her relationship to life with which the supernatural sometimes mixes. Trained at the Oliver de Serres school (ENSAAM Paris) and the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts (Akademia Sztuk Pieknych), this artist develops a keen interest in tiny things, traces of time and marks. From the Spirits series, there is a plurality of inspirations drawn about spiritualism and embellished by the artist’s singular relationship with spirits.
Can you tell us about your artistic approach ?
I like to suppose, draw, engrave, model, build, associate, try, in order to express an intimate reality. I mix fictionnal events with strictly real facts. I blend life experience into plastic realization. I adopt various techniques, different formulations such as ceramic or engraving.
What are your creative tools / medium ? What is your drawing process ?
The monotype remains my usual pratice. Unfairly underestimated, this printing process without engraving produces a unique print. A glass plate receives a thin veil of greasy ink left by a roller. On this inked support, two sheets of paper are put : the first is blank ; the second has the sketched project on. Using all kinds of graphic tools, the drawing is made. The ink is put on the first sheet, where the pencil « travels ». The monotype leaves the design free and allows infinite ink games. I tackle different themes : portrait, my loved ones, intimacy, passage of time… with some preferences for my garden, vegetable, natural phenomena… I absord things, take photos, compile different textual or visual sources. I let myself be penetrated by what I observe.
Could you tell us more about the monochrome of your drawing ?
Blue is my black ! Gustave Coquiot, in his work entitled « Renoir » reports the words of the painter : « One morning, one of us lacking in black, used blue : Impressionism was born. »
How did you get the urge to draw the Spirit series ? What was your source of inspiration ?
Spirit are you there ?! … In the 19th century, the bourgeoisie turned tables and indulged in spiritualism. Allan Kardec explains : « Spiritist doctrine or spiritualism has as its prnciples the relations of the material world with the Spirits or beings of the invisible world. ». In the 1850s, in the United States, the first experiments with spirit photographs took place : the photographer William Mumler is cited as the first to have captured a spirit on the photographic support. Victor Hugo, in exile on the island of Jersey, indulges in countless spiritualist sessions to establish contact with his tragicaly disappeared daughter Leopoldine. The sources are diverse, abundant, fascinating. They greatly inspired me… I thus summoned spirits, wandering souls, ghosts, and other ghosts, imbued with strangeness, in the moonlight, under the crystal chandelier or in the light of a candle.
What is your relationship to the spirits, to the missing ?
I believe in the soul ! There is a triple meaning. At first glance, the soul corresponds to the principle of organic material life with a beginning and an end. But the soul is also the principle of intelligence, a universal agent of which each being absorbs a part. In other words, there is in everyone more than matter only. Something remains after death. Thirdly finally, it is not contradictory to also think that the soul is a moral being, independent of matter, which retains its individuality after death. I believe in the Spirit, like a breath, which dwells in the living as the non-living, the animated as the inanimate, beings, things, places… I believe in chance and coincidences, which sometimes are not. I believe in the charm of the supernatural, the unexplained…
Images © Amélie Vidgrain
Her Instagram: @amelievidgrain