« Writing a story is like building a castle in the dark », Dorothée De Monfreid writes. You are all alone, waiting, in the forest, at night, shivering. You are almost afraid. Then there is a tiny light, and colours come back; a first friend comes, and then a second… when you are more than one, you are less small, and everything becomes possible. In the world of Dorothée de Monfreid, friendship is the utmost value. Dogs talk to cats, who in turn hang out with birds, with exuberant elephants and mice, with naughty crocodiles, and one might well also run into magic pigs, into wolves with lollipops to give away… and even with children! With the help of others, you can build castles at the other end of the world, and the forest becomes again the place where all fancies, where all adventures can happen.
« What I would like to convey is a feeling of freedom, a vision of the world whereby, even amidst all of our constraints, we can still become free. » The very line in these drawings is freed of graphic as well as anatomic conventions, of all scholarly rules. The emphasis is laid instead on the movement of characters, on their gestures, on their bodily expressions. The precise and yet fluid drawing line allows all distorsions and excesses to take place. Animals are neither elegant nor classy: they are too small, too hairy, too fat, and this makes them all the more funny, the more lovable, and simply the more alive. The original illustrations presented here evidence the work on colours, always very bright ones. The flat tints, the acrylic, the oils, the water colours – no matter what the technique may be, everything starts with an image, a character, a universe… Sculptures and installations complete the exhibition. Papier mâché sculptures have been dear to the heart of Dorothée de Monfreid ever since the days when she was a student at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs de Paris. Far from rendering a fixed and stilted imagery, these give birth to an incremental graphic universe – nothing less than drawing in progress. »
The MY FRIENDS, MY ANIMALS exhibition is an invitation to stroll through the merry and colourful universe composed of Dorothée de Monfreid’s characters. It features original illustrations but also installations, all of which are making the visit more interactive and playful. The exhibition is aimed at both children and adults. Its main focus is on the books, mostly published by l’école des loisirs (collection Loulou & Cie + albums), but also by Gallimard Jeunesse (Super Sauvage).