The Albus gallery in Seoul is Korea’s first and only exhibition space dedicated solely to illustration. Currently exhibiting across all four floors is the French illustrator Thibaud Hérem who expresses himself and his technical abilities in a new show, Detail filled with passion. “This show is a milestone in my career,” Thibaud tells It’s Nice That. He fills the gallery with wonderfully detailed illustrations of buildings from all over the world. A technical style of drawing that he has perfected over many years, each illustration relays a distinct moment of time and place through architecture.
For Thibaud, illustrating buildings is not just about architectural technicality and a sense of perspective, instead, he adds elements of humanism into the drawings, appreciating the buildings for their personality and social stance. He comments: “Illustrating houses is like making a portrait of the house. The aesthetic is, of course, important, but it’s also about telling a story.” Minute details within a drawing can offer so much information on further inspection. And from looking at Thibaud’s illustrations of houses we can tell so many things about that time: “The social standing, the state of mind of the people that built the house, the people who lived there or those who simply evolved around it.”
“When I draw, all these stories come to me and I try to give it back to the public,” adds the illustrator. His interest in drawing buildings began a long time ago and for a combination of reasons. Primarily, it was an “endless source of inspiration”. Thibaud wanted to “embrace detailed drawings” and learn from craftsmen who understood the time-consuming process of architectural drawing which, in turn, leaves a lasting mark within society at that time. With a background in graphic design, Thibaud brings this rigid precision to his illustration practice. However, he remarks that the most useful lesson of his design education involves “understanding the philosophy of making an image” which encompasses much more than scientific accuracy.
After spending thousands and thousands of hours drawing buildings, you would think Thibaud was somewhat bored with the subject. On the contrary, “I am more attracted today than I was at the beginning”, he asserts on his passion for illustrating buildings. “It is a very personal practice that continues to evolve drawing after drawing,” constantly challenging himself within the niche subject to illustrate buildings “that haven’t been represented before or haven’t been drawn in that way before” to mark a specific moment in society.
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