Art, Shapes, Geometry and Architecture with Jean Baptiste

For most of us architecture is just the set-design in our everyday lives. But for Jean-Baptiste Monnin it’s the leading star. When he looks at buildings he sees the small architectural details that many of us just pass by. For him, architecture is never static; it’s the backbone of his art.

It’s a typical grey morning in January when Artconnect enters Jean-Baptiste Monnin’s apartment in Schöneberg. The style of his home is a mirror of his drawings. It’s precise and in order; every object has its place. The difference though, is that the cat Bisou doesn’t run around in his artworks. It makes sense that a person who builds impressive abstract architectural drawings with thousands and thousands of exact lines is a person who also orders his succulents by size.

Jean-Baptiste was born in France 1986. He moved to Berlin six years ago after he’d fallen in love with the city while on vacation. With a background in architecture and fine arts, he has developed a unique style. The process behind the drawings in the series “Basculement” always starts with a trip, either in Berlin or somewhere else, to find a modern or contemporary styled building to photograph as a reference. Afterwards, Jean-Baptiste spends approximately a week redrawing the photo. He reframes, reverses or rotates the picture to create the abstract urban landscape he’s envisioned. “I want to give the feeling to the viewer that they can go inside the picture and walk on this landscape” he says, while sipping on a cup of tea. The last part of the process is to fold the big canvas, like one would do with architectural technical plans.

We ask him to draw for us and the vibe in the room immediately changes. His pen dances over the canvas to the sound of a track from Pink Floyd’s album Dark Side of The Moon. It’s a soothing thing to watch. By spending hours standing still and making repetitive hand movements in pursuit of the ranging shades of grey, typical for his drawings, Jean-Baptiste tells us that he comes close to a meditative state. “In a way, I even become a part of the art” he says leaning over the big canvas.