Friday, January 9, 2009

Edmond Baudoin's Le portrait - Coda










1. Edmond Baudoin's first page as published in Civilization, Glénat, 1981 [Le canard sauvage - the wild duck -, 1973];
2., 3. some recurring images haunt Edmond Baudoin... I'll show two in this coda: the man who runs and the "open head" motif: "This man who runs in "La vie" [life; Civilization, Glénat, 1981 (Circus, 1978)] is an image that I could never erase from my mind" (Edmond Baudoin in Baudoin by Philippe Sohet, Mosquito, 2001: 31; my translation):
2. Passe le temps, Futuropolis, 1991 [1982];
3. Le chemin de Saint-Jean (Saint John's way), L'Association, 2003 [2002]; it seems that Baudoin reads a parable of life in the man who runs: he runs and runs and then gets killed; I also read a desire to get away from something painful or a yearning for freedom;
4. Edmond Baudoin: "I don't like "sound effects" in comics much. The "boom," "bang," "vroom." With La peau du lézard [the lizard's skin], I tried to convey sounds with the drawing's technique only. Strong ink blots for violence, weightlessness for tenderness" (Derriére les fagots - untranslatable expression used in those special occasions in which a precious wine bottle gets out of the wine cellar where it is supposedly kept "behind a bundle of sticks;" Z'éditions, 1996: 20; my translation); La peau du lézard is: Futuropolis, 1983; we can also see how, changing from the constrained rapidograph to the free brush, Baudoin looked to the Far East (to painter Shitao, mainly) for guidance;
5., 6., 7., 8., the "open head" motif:
5. Le premier voyage, Futuropolis, 1987; the main character, Mathieu (as in Les chemins de la liberté - the roads to freedom - by Jean-Paul Sartre), leaves his house to go to work, but wanders around instead: "I drew my character with his head open to let him be open to the world" (Edmond Baudoin, Derriére les fagots, ditto: 49; my translation); notice the printed words at the bottom of the page; Edmond Baudoin was an accountant who viewed art as a liberation;
6. Baudoin did a remake of Le premier voyage for Kodansha in Japan (later published in France as: Le voyage (the travel; L'Association, 1996 [1995]);
7. a variation on the "open head" theme: Drozophile # 4, March, 1999 (detail);
8. self-portrait with open head: Derriére les fagots, ditto;
9. Edmond Baudoin is a master of the drybrush technique: another allegory of life: the old chestnut tree, struck by lightning; it still stands like a beautiful sculpture, pointing upwards (Le chemin de Saint-Jean, L'Association, 2002; this drawing wasn't included in the first version of the book because Le chemin de Saint-Jean is a work in progress).

PS An interview with Edmond Baudoin at the fine site Du 9 (in English; I don't know what's essential or not, but, from the top of my head, I can remember two short stories by Baudoin published in the U.S.A.: this one:; and one in here:,765?var_recherche=madden.)


Jason Overby said...

These pages are really beautiful. The drawings aren't so mired in ugly, incestuous comics tropes. I hope we see some of this translated into English someday.

Isabelinho said...

Hi Jason:
As far as I know you can find work by Baudoin (in English) in:
Weirdo # 28 (Summer 1993); Heavy Metal, vol. 17, # 6 (Jan. 1994); Rosetta vol. 2 (July 2004).

Jason Overby said...

Thanks! I might try to track down some of his work untranslated because the images are so evocative and wonderful.