aquatint engravings






Journey to the Centre of the head - 2009


The project Journey to the centre of the head was created at the Estienne School, as diploma project. It’s a fold-up book which can be randomly unfold according to the reader’s preferences. Focused on the theme of the memory and the recollection, this project is based on visuals directly taken from the own Cécile Gay’s memory and experiences. The pictures are mainly using aquatint engravings, colour printed by hand. This technique is directly inspired by the medical engravings from the 18th century, some having lots of colourful shadings. Between scientific objectivity and the individual feeling, this project offers a poetic approach of the brain.


The frequency, the density and the sequence of the contents are organised similarly to the brain’s data archiving. Some areas are empty (amnesia), others are reachable only if some first areas are already unfolded (mental block), others are spreading out with a frenetic pace (strong emotion). A sprinkle of literature citations - Marcel Proust, Guillaume Apollinaire, Umberto Ecco etc. – can be read along the book and near the engraved pictures, allowing the reader to develop his imagination, as a necessary link to bring the reader toward his own personal experiences.


Cécile Gay has chosen to use only colours to print the engravings, using soft and warm tones. This smooth colour-range is coming from her "coloured childhood memory". These pictures are mixed and interwoven with brain medical imagery. The result is a series of rich and varied pictures, abundant of souvenirs that can be “read and felt” by the reader and lead him to questioning his own memory.

Here are shown the first samples and preliminary pictorial researches to the final fold-up printed book.


Techniques used: charcoal and graphite drawings, aquatint and etching, drypoint engraving, enhancing with woodcut, monotype, pasted papers.