LE PETIT NÉANT: The art of drawing

By Cristina Álvarez Cañas. November 13, 2012

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References to a very personal surrealism. Disjointed images, confused, all of them in apparent incoherence; they pay attention at first to the stroke, to what it embodies in the mind of the artist who has designed it. To leaf through Le Petit Néant is a pleasure for your eyes and its authors only ask you to look at it. The first issue of this new annual title is a nameless compendium of ideas and thoughts spoken out loud and captured by the master hands of artists from four different continents. Fiction, mythology, extraterrestrial landscapes, everyday scenes taken out of context, animal fantasy and naturalist sequences signed by Giacomo NanniCharlie DuckBayrol JiménezBenjamin Monti y Josephin Ritschel, among others. The editor of this impeccable booklet, the Mexican Miguel Ángel Valdivia, and its designer, the Italian Giulia Garbin, are both students at one of the most prestigious art colleges in the world, London’s Royal College of Arts.

The 28 authors that take part in this publication show their work –mostly in black and white– using dry media (charcoal, pen and pencil), xylography and different engraving techniques. The result, far from minimalism and abstraction, can be plastically described as a jigsaw, huge and baroque, of illustrations and drawing that enter the human psychology and the oneiric universe of each creator. And maybe from that impossible task of classifying comes the French title: The small nothing.

One of the few who has been brave enough to explain with certainty the intentions of Le Petit Néant is Andrzej Klimowski, graphic artist and also Professor at Royal College of Art. According to his words, this is a “silent army of graphic artists who weave their pictorial narratives from their imagination. [...] Drawing is their common medium; it provides the fastest route to the mind, allowing artists to directly tap into the imagination inhabited by visions and dreams. These are often witty, absurd and surreal”.

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