Eric Manigaud

The French artist Éric Manigaud is celebrated for his monumental, photorealistic graphite drawings, that are based on historic photographic archive material. Working in series, he dedicates his work to historical subjects including the facially disfigured soldiers of the First World War, the bombed-out cities of the Second World War, early 20th century crime scenes, and spirit photography from the 1920s and 30s. In his 2018 series he focusses on the Paris massacre of October 17th 1961, during which the French police attacked a peaceful demonstration of the Algerian Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) in a shockingly violent way. Using photographs by Georges Azenstarck, Louis Dalmas, Elie Kagan and Georges Ménager, and a film by Jacques Panijel, Éric Manigaud has worked to show one of the darkest chapters of recent French history.

Manigaud is interested in archival sources that often bear witness to violent episodes in Europe’s evolution towards modernity. He regularly uses photographic sources from the era between 1850 and 1920, when the medium was still considered strictly objective and scientific. His drawings of badly wounded soldiers of the Great War, inhabitants of 19th-century mental institutions and early 20th-century crime scenes remain burned on the retina. By means of the often graphic nature of his drawings, Manigaud urges his audience to remember painful parts of history that some would rather forget.

biography

Born in France in 1971
Lives and works in Saint-Etienne, France

Eric Manigaud - L'Afrique qui disparaît, pangolin, 2022 © Courtesy Cyrille Cauvet
Eric Manigaud - L'Afrique qui disparaît, pangolin, 2022, Graphite on digigraphic screen, 60 x 70 cm © Courtesy Cyrille Cauvet
Eric Manigaud - Pointe Noire, caiman sur la rivière Loémé, Pauleau, 2022 © Courtesy Cyrille Cauvet
Eric Manigaud - Pointe Noire, caiman sur la rivière Loémé, Pauleau, 2022, Graphite on digigraphic screen, 59 x 95 cm © Courtesy Cyrille Cauvet
Process

Manigaud’s method is simple but effective: he projects the found images on paper, on a much bigger scale than the original. He traces the projected contours, shades and lights with pencil and graphite powder. It is a slow and labour-intensive process that lends weight to the volatile snapshots Manigaud started from.

The enlargement of these often graphic and shocking images to a monumental scale turns them into a physical and disruptive experience for the viewer. Seen from a distance, Manigaud’s drawings seem photo-realistic, but coming closer, the countless dots and strokes start to blur and deconstruct the spectator’s vision. This ghost-like and elusive quality offers the viewer a way of distancing himself from the hard reality of what is depicted.

Eric Manigaud - Madagascar, 1947, L'insurrection et la répression Randianina Ravoaja, Vents d'ailleurs, 2022 © Courtesy Cyrille Cauvet
Eric Manigaud - Madagascar, 1947, L'insurrection et la répression Randianina Ravoaja, Vents d'ailleurs, 2022 © Courtesy Cyrille Cauvet
Eric Manigaud - Rassemblement tribal, années 1930, 2021 © Courtesy Cyrille Cauvet
Eric Manigaud - Rassemblement tribal, années 1930, 2021, Graphite on paper, 120 x 180 cm © Courtesy Cyrille Cauvet
Eric Manigaud - Congo français, 1937, travaux Chemin de Fer Pointe Noire, PCH 289, 2022 © Courtesy Cyrille Cauvet
Eric Manigaud - Congo français, 1937, travaux Chemin de Fer Pointe Noire, PCH 289, 2022, Graphite on digigraphic screen, 113 x 171 cm © Courtesy Cyrille Cauvet
Eric Manigaud - Ollier, scoliose, 1884
Eric Manigaud - Ollier, scoliose, 1884, 2018, Pencil and graphite powder on print, 45 x 32 cm
Eric Manigaud - Klinikum Weilmunster #15, 2018
Eric Manigaud - Klinikum Weilmunster #15, 2018, Pencil and graphite powder on print, 76 x 59 cm
Eric Manigaud - Trachoma pannus keratitis, 1916
Eric Manigaud - Trachoma pannus keratitis, 1916, 2015, Pencil and graphite powder on print, 153 x 145 cm
Eric Manigaud - Affaire de Colombes, assassinat des époux M..., vue de la salle à manger (plan), 2007
Eric Manigaud - Affaire de Colombes, assassinat des époux M..., vue de la salle à manger (plan), 2007, Pencil and graphite powder on print, 160 x 179 cm
Eric Manigaud - Portrait Clinique #11, 2010
Eric Manigaud - Klinikum #11, 2011, Graphite on paper, 179 x 142 cm
Eric Manigaud - Klinikum #7, 2010
Eric Manigaud - Klinikum #7, 2010, Graphite on paper, 179 x 135 cm
Eric Manigaud - Panijel #1, 2017
Eric Manigaud - Panijel #1, 2017, Pencil and graphite powder on paper, 27 x 35 cm
Eric Manigaud - Panijel #3, 2017
Eric Manigaud - Panijel #3, 2017, Pencil and graphite powder on paper, 27 x 35 cm
Eric Manigaud - Georges Ménager #1, 2016, , Pencil and graphite powder on paper, 170 x 140 cm
Eric Manigaud - Cologne #3, 1945, 2012
Eric Manigaud - Cologne #3, 1945, 2012, , Pencil and graphite powder on paper, 166 x 179 cm