Céline Ducrot’s paintings are filled with glowy moments of ambiguity

The Switzerland-based artist makes us wonder, what moments are truly worth remembering?

29 February 2024

With all their iridescent hues and eerie blues, Céline Ducrot’s paintings are a wonder for the eyes. Each frame is a whirlwind pause, where standing in the rain, ceiling gazing, embracing friends or basking in the aroma of a steamy dish is stretched to what seems like infinity. She lays bare the moments between moments, where scenarios are unclear and the next step is ambiguous, creating a world that is both alien and wildly familiar.

Céline grew up in a small village near the Swiss Alps. In her younger years, she would draw for hours on end, falling in love with the process and feeling of deep concentration and flow. “As a child I realised that I was able to evoke situations and dynamics that are not really tangible, and that are beyond my ability to describe through other means of communication,” she says. Over the years, she has held onto this feeling, using her work to make the intangible real.

For Céline, painting is an opportunity to create “uncertain arrangements” that explore the dynamics between characters. Working intuitively and through associations, she doesn’t like to get tied to a specific message, preferring to remain open to any spontaneous ideas that may arise. Though she still manages to maintain shrewd attention to themes like self care, tension, togetherness and even loneliness. “Theres a lot of intimacy but also alienation,” she shares.


Céline Ducrot: Hardshell (Copyright © Céline Ducrot, 2023)

Céline’s process is rather traditional, starting with small sketches, or what she likes to call visual notes. “If I notice an idea coming to me, it feels like catching a fish.” On the less conventional side, she carries these sketches around with her as she goes about her day-to-day life, and waits to see if the initial spark is still there. If it is, she fleshes out the sketch to see if she would like to work on it at a bigger scale. “And based on this, I will start to paint,” she says. Working with airbrush on large wood panels, she cuts out masking tape to create sharp lines in a way of painting that she describes as particularly “fragmented”, because of her intentional focus at each stage and section of the work.

Céline’s focus on flow and her prioritisation of being present at every fragment of the painting allows her more unconscious themes to emerge to the forefront – togetherness and rifts, self-nurturing and communing, melancholy and awe.


Céline Ducrot: I still feel it (Copyright © Céline Ducrot, 2023)


Céline Ducrot: Let’s stop right here (Copyright © Céline Ducrot, 2022)


Céline Ducrot: Right through you (Copyright © Céline Ducrot, 2023)


Céline Ducrot: The Reading (Copyright © Céline Ducrot, 2023)


Céline Ducrot: The sky behind you (Copyright © Céline Ducrot, 2023)


Céline Ducrot: Mixed Feelings II (Copyright © Céline Ducrot, 2023)


Céline Ducrot: Softshell (Copyright © Céline Ducrot, 2022)

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Céline Ducrot: I hope this finds you well (Copyright © Céline Ducrot, 2022)

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About the Author

Yaya Azariah Clarke

Yaya (they/them) joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in June 2023 and became a staff writer in November of the same year. With a particular interest in Black visual culture, they have previously written for publications such as WePresent, alongside work as a researcher and facilitator for Barbican and Dulwich Picture Gallery.

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