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  • AlbertineIllustrator–Switzerland

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Albertine was born in 1967 in a village in the Geneva area. She studied at the École des Arts Décoratifs and the École Supérieure d'Art Visuel of Geneva. She obtained her diploma in 1990 and opened a screen-printing workshop in the same year. She became a press illustrator and started to collaborate with many publications in Switzerland and in France. She met writer Germano Zullo in 1993. They later married, and their relationship soon developed into one of great artistic affinity. Their first common works were published in 1996, and their many publications for children were soon receiving several awards—including the Golden Apple of Bratislava, 1999; the New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book, 2012; the Crescer Prize from Sao Paulo, 2014; and the Bologna Ragazzi Award/Fiction, 2016. Albertine simultaneously pursued a prolific artistic career. She has exhibited her drawings, screen prints, lithographic works, wood engravings, objects, and notebooks in Geneva, Paris, Bologna, Rome, Valencia, and Toyko, to name a few. From 1996 to 2014, Albertine also taught screen-printing and illustration at the Haute École d'Art et de Design of Geneva.

For twenty years, Albertine has been developing her own instantly recognizable personal style. Albertine draws instinctively. Her stroke, which she first developed in childhood as a departure from a point, has remained her signature ever since. When comparing her first book, Le Petit Fantôme (The Little Ghost, 1996), with one of her latest work, Mon tout petit (My Little One, 2015), one notices that her stroke is continually evolving, espousing her current subject. While each new drawing never resembles an old one, traces of all the works she has ever imagined are apparent in the new ones. Albertine's natural spontaneity appears throughout her works but with a sense of detail, an infinite precision, and a relevance, as well as a sense of humor. She gives every image different layers, which, in turn, offer the reader several levels of interpretation. She may be first an illustrator, but Albertine is also a full-fledged author.

In the stories created by the creative couple, the relationship between the text and the image is perfectly controlled and the articulation between the two crafts is seamless. The poetry present in one is echoed in the other, and the humor which emerges out of Albertine's stroke springs up in Germano's texts. The reading rhythm makes room for moments of silence. This mastery of the art of illustration takes the readers elsewhere; a place where they can indulge in a plethora of emotions and feelings that are exacerbated by inspired narration.

Each of Albertine's book complies to her hand's movements—endlessly unraveling like the Rumeur de Venise (The Venice Rumor) leporello, rising along a vertiginous vertical line in Les Gratte-Ciel (Sky High), marrying a horizontal perspective in Ligne 135 (Line 135), or unwinding into an endless embrace in the flipbook Mon tout petit (My Little One).

Albertine has illustrated more than forty children's books. Many of them have been translated into many languages. Thus, her poetic universe has been able to enchant an audience well beyond the European borders. [End Page 64]



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