Blandine is a French born artist, who works and lives in London, Deptford. She originally studied a BA Fashion Design Womenswear at Central Saint Martins in London, then created a jewellery collection made of plastic tubes after graduating. This jewellery collection was exhibited in the Oxford Street windows at Selfridges, and she was also commissioned by French designer Mugler to design Menswear jewellery for their catwalk show at the Paris Fashion week. Afterwards, Blandine went on to study an MA in Painting at The Glasgow School of Art to pursue her love for Fine Art, mainly drawing and painting. It is also there that she started creating soft sculptures, where fabrics and textiles were handled in a painterly way.
Biomorphic amalgams, collaged and copy-pasted beings, crawl out of their frames, leaving traces of colour and mucus behind.
Vibrant sea creatures, becoming alive, organisms from another planet.
The beings that exist in Blandine Bardeau’s artworks always seem to want to escape, to avoid being caught inside a restricted frame, to make a home at the frontier of two and three-dimensional worlds. Perhaps because they wish to maintain the freedom they find when existing only in the air, in unseen worlds: from this perspective, it is no surprise that they would often end-up being off-centre on the page.
Blandine’s pieces claim their roots in her fashion and jewellery backgrounds and constantly engage in dialogue with her soft sculptures. Her drawings in particular have become ephemeral, abstract sculptures that never existed: made-up of more or less recognisable fragments from jewellery pieces, jellyfish and other sea beauties, soft sculptures, plants and foods, they organically appear on the page as she goes along. She uses mixed-media techniques on all of her pieces, in particular acrylic, oil, acetate, paper cut-out, latex, coloured pencil and felt-tip pen. She collects magazine cut-outs, and peels off and uses dry acrylic shapes, or brushstrokes on paper or acetate. She mostly works on paper, linen and translucent polyester. When working on polyester, its transparency allows Blandine to work both from the front and the back of the painting.
Her most recent drawing-collages have emanated from an old love and training in time-consuming, meticulous coloured pencil drawings, mixed with a freer, play-based collage technique. Impossible soft structures, fragments of the imagination, Blandine’s works also have a quality of the feminine spirit that attracts both women and men, perhaps because it alludes to an ancient sense of the feminine that exists in us all.
In a way, the creatures depicted in her paintings and drawings could easily exist in alternate dimensions, perhaps in spirit worlds, not so dissimilar to those depicted by Hayao Miyazaki in Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away. From this perspective, her work is influenced by the East, specifically Japan, and its traditional art forms and philosophy: "Calligraphy is sheer life experienced through energy in motion that is registered as traces on silk or paper, with time and rhythm in shifting space its main ingredients." (Stanley-Baker)