From the mists of Brittany to the far away fogs of Japan, Yannick Ballif writes her aesthetic trajectory under the sign of voyages.


“As a child, I was carefully keeping the broken leads of my pencils. My intention was to put them in front of the chimney, a little before the Saint Nicholas Day: enough time for him to glue them back and make new pencils. I joined a letter, detailing my wishes.

I found one addressed “ to the Great Saint Nicholas, Paradise of the Blue Universe”.

During months before, this ceremonial was preceded by a marvelous game: The dance of the leads. A big flat box contained my treasure, and I only needed a slight movement to send them all to a corner, and the waltz started. Reds, blues, greens and yellows were spinning, and I was ecstatic. Ambiguous ecstasy, mixed with regret of my defunct pencils and culpability in front of all these broken leads.

December 6 was a miracle. At the foot of the chimney, a big box was waiting for me, a rainbow amidst silver tinsel. I was discovering shades of blues, reds, oranges, greens, pinks…

Happily I was inaugurating my new drawing notebook.

I liked to draw Chinese women with knitting needles in their hair, apples with red shadows, green leaves, really round grapes with a hint of light. Caravels, all sails deployed among waves, and very geometrical wind roses, drawn with a compass.

I still have one of those childhood notebooks.

Today, in front of my hundreds of pastels, I only have one certitude, that of not having changed.”