contemporary art / history of art

Amandine Urruty

Born in 1982 in a little rural village close to Toulouse, Amandine Urruty grew up surrounded by ducks, cows and sunflowers. In this environment without museums and art galleries, it was difficult to imagine being an artist. Nonetheless, she started at the age of 16 to copy French paintings from neo-classicism (Ingres, David) with black pencils. The idea to be a painter or cartoonist was born. Due to her background, she studied Plastic Arts at the University of Toulouse, with the objective to become art teacher. At this time, she frequented local artists and finally started a brief career as a singer in a bossa nova group. Fortunately, she was asked to create the promotional posters. Hence, she returned to her first love, the drawing.

Initially, Amandine worked with black ink. Stimulated by friends, she experimented successfully with colour pencils. Even though preferring drawing, she made some large-sized wall paintings, inter alia in Zaragoza (Spain), Niort (France) and Bangkok (Thailand). Since some years, she returned to her black and white technique and opted for graphite and charcoal.

These drawings are populated by various figures. There are human beings beside animals, fantastic figures and often ghosts. Frequently they are placed in imaginary landscapes, with more or less architecture. Other sceneries are inside rooms, which are filled with strange bits and pieces. Many of the characters as well as the objects are coming from pop culture or art history. Most of the elements seem to be familiar. Some are, some are not. However, the drawings suggest to recall a far remembrance, perhaps souvenirs from childhood or from a collective memory. The settings are sometimes scary, sometimes amusing.

As the rural environment of Amandine’s childhood, her parent’s passions seem to have left their marks in her artistic work. Her mother collected various things and installed them in the family house and her father loved horror movies. Moreover, there are influences from Surrealism, ugly tattoos, animated films and antique toys. Additionally, Flemish paintings have an impact on the work, especially Hieronymus Bosch. The composition of landscapes and the bizarre looking personages prove that, like in our artwork of the month November 2021. Furthermore, several oeuvres recall “post-mortem photography” of the Victorian time. They depicted deceased children with their toys as remembrance for the parents. Other drawings resemble old family portraits, but most of the portrayed are provided with her so typical nose-masks and other attributes. These disguises are a derivation from Amandine’s early works: her first created characters had no noses, nor feet, nor hands. By their evolution, they got nose-masks, gloves and costumes.

Besides her numerous drawings and the wall paintings, Amandine published five monographic books and made illustrations for various magazines, books and LP covers. In the last ten years, she had over seventy solo shows and participations in group exhibitions. Her works travelled around the world, from San Francisco to Tokyo with many stops in the United States, Europe and some in Australia.

Amandine lives and works in Paris.


Artwork of the Month / November 2021