Degree Show 2022

Aurelie Gerardin

Artist statement

“Every work of art is the child of its time, while often it is the parents of our emotions. Thus, every cultural period creates art of its own, which can never be repeated again.” Wassily Kandinsky

The contemporary artist faces the challenge of a desacralized world, drowned in a continuous flow of images and information.

We cannot escape this confrontation with external chaos deploying unprecedented forces: hyper materialism, the conquest of the atom and space.

There is a surprisingly deep parallel between modern human being in the grip of the tumult of the world and the painter struggling with his/her ideas, intentions and all the clichés. This chaos from which the artist must compose a new order, a new diagram, which will address the viewer as a challenge to send she/he back to her/himself.

Painting does not produce new images of which the eye is insatiable; it addresses the inner eye and invites meditation.

“The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing." The Ecclesiastes 1:8

Painting provides space to awaken the inner eye of the contemporary human being.

In this context, why should we be interested in Indian and Persian miniatures, Icon painting or the Italian primitives? Conversely, why should we ignore them? Is amnesia the characteristic of the contemporary artist?

Obviously, the danger would be to stagnate in the past and remain stuck in the style of another era. However, even if the painters free themselves from the Old Masters, they do not avoid the question of imitation and cliché.

They may well miss the opportunity that Matisse, Kandinsky, Gauguin, Van Gogh and many others seized to revive their inspiration. Indeed, many formal characteristics of the miniature and the icon raise the same questions as those of the contemporary painter.

“The Persian miniature flatters our modern taste sharpened by the abstract adventure: refusal of illusory perspectives, pleasure of the pure line; disdain of shadows and muddy nuances; large flat areas of bright and primary colours, without mixtures." Michael Barry

Within a protean artistic practice (integrating my painting, life-drawing, and etching), I constantly create dialogues between different media. Through deepening my knowledge of pigments and traditional processes, I embrace the visual experiments to come.

For the Degree Show, I will present my latest paintings, the result of these experiments.

Using the Indian miniature technique, I will also present paintings and drawings with references to the frescoes of the Bundi Palace (Rajasthan, India) and to the ragamalas (paintings linked to the ragas, pieces of Indian classical music); in particular, to The Laud Ragamala Album, a precious 16th-century manuscript which I had the honour of consulting at the Weston Library in Oxford.


GERARDIN Aurelie Headshot

Aurélie Gérardin is a French painter-engraver who lives and works in Paris and London.

Using the techniques of figurative art and magic realism, she paints an inner pictorial world nourished by literature, music, observation of reality and its transformation by memory.

She has travelled on the European, African, American, Indian and Australian continents, all influences in her art.

She trained in painting and printmaking in Paris (Taylor Foundation-Salon d'Automne 2020 printmaking award).

In 2018, she initiated herself into Indian miniature painting with the master Ajay Sharma in his workshop in Jaipur in India.

In 2020, she joined the MA at the Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts, furthering her knowledge of pigments and traditional processes.

"One delivers oneself all the better when one sees one's efforts confirmed by a tradition, however ancient."

Henri Matisse, Ecrits et propos sur l'art,1972.


Instagram @aurelie_gerardin

Email aureliegerardin2[at]