Le Petit Néant is a publication which looks at drawing and the “wordless visual narrative.” Brought to life by Giulia Garbin (in charge of “the design and the visual aspects”) and Miguel Angel Valdivia when the duo were studying at the RCA, Le Petit Néant presents illustrators’ work captionless and without comment: a pure, unadulterated look at the medium in a world overrun with opinions. As the publication prepares to launch its third issue, we spoke to editor Miguel Angel Valdivia.
“We do not commission artists, because we want to be surprised, disoriented,” Miguel says. “We normally give a series of very random and wide topics, just to inspire. And most of the time they don’t really follow them, which is totally fine because at the end everything has a sort of unexpected harmony. I like the idea of not being in control of everything. Beauty has nothing to do with the choice, it is more about how a picture is able to resonate. Drawing is a powerful and a very primitive way to communicate if you think about it. Every person in the world has a different way to draw, even if not everybody does it. I believe they should. More than just talent, drawing is a result of an exciting encounter between mind and body, practice and instinct . So every drawing, even if it is just a single mark, has a particular vibration, and this is the element I look for. This vibration is what makes the drawing alive as if it had his own existence, almost freeing itself from its creator. I often make the comparison with the cave paintings, like in the beautiful movie The Cave of Forgotten Dreams by Werner Herzog. I am fascinated by these painted animals who remained in the dark and silence for thousand and thousand of years. They are still vibrating, they raise questions, they trigger our imagination and they leave so many questions unanswered.”
The third issue of Le Petit Néant, which translates as “The Small Nothingness”, features the work of a long list of names, among them some of our favourite illustrators of the moment: Andrzej Klimowski, Chris Bianchi, Neal Fox, Carolina Celas, Olivier Deprez, Giulia Pastore, Joe Kessler, Phil Goss, Marie Jacotey, Joakim Drescher, Tanaka Nahoshi, Becky Allen, Ilan Manouach, An Servoung, Steph Von Reiswitz, Grace Holliday, Robert Rubbish, Thomas Dowse, Miguel Angel Valdivia, Lisa Robertson, YY Lam, Nicolas Nadé, Rachel Wright, Tom Spooner, Magnus Lenneskog, Tezo Kyungdon Lee and Tuchi. For Miguel and Giulia, it is important not only to find a balance of different “ingredients” and styles, but for them all to mesh together in a visual rhythm.
“In this particular issue, which is larger than the past ones, we gave more space to the artists and some of the works have an abstract quality which wasn’t present on the previous issues. I think this is probably the most mature one and, in a way, it opens the path to future projects,” Miguel says.