Clémentine Boutry, One year around the world – 23 avril – 1er juin 2012

   23 avril – 1er juin 2012

« One year around the world », Portaits

Clémentine Boutry, watercolor

In 2004, when they had finished their EPFL studies, Clémentine Boutry and her future husband Amaury went on a long voyage. How the closure of a global passage became the inspiration for an art show.  

Clémentine Boutry began to travel at a very young age. Her father took her and her younger brother backpacking through France, Greece, Egypt and Poland. He gave his daughter her first field sketchbook and encouraged her to draw and paint on her journeys.

Presently, her artistic creations vary from her earliest (travel) sketches to paintings, posters and some book-cover designs. Still, she decided to become an engineer. “I wanted to do something of scientific use, related to biomedical applications” she says. “I always drew, but in the end I chose engineering. It has a lot in common with art; both fields combine creativity and curiosity in an ongoing way.”

While studying engineering and micro technology for a Master’s degree at EPFL she also began to draw sanguine and sepia- colored portraits and became quite experienced at it.

Clémentine is currently a PhD student at ETH in Zurich where she does research towards her dissertation on micro and nano systems. She is interested in working on the feasibility of biomedical implants; devices that can be left in a body, measuring signals, transmitting data wirelessly to the outside, eventually fully degrading after use within the physical system. This project is linked to what she used to do at EPFL; biosensors. “A creative vision is so important,” she notes. That observation perfectly blends in with the activities of a scientist-painter.

When Clémentine and Amaury decided to go on their year-long voyage it was the right moment for both of them; they were both in between studies. Not only did they hope that their trip would provide them with fresh ideas and perspectives, they also wanted to be an inspiration to their fellow students. They researched and identified former EPFL scholars abroad whom they would like to meet on their journey and wrote a series of articles about these encounters in the Flash.

Their travels went from Russia to Mongolia, Tibet, China, Nepal, North India, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Fiji, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru, and ended in Equator.

Of course, sketch books were always part of Clémentine’s luggage and along the way she drew everything she wanted to remember.

What is her favorite subject? “I love people,” she explains, “so there are always many portraits among my images. Drawing portraits also appeared to be a great way to make contact. When you sit down somewhere especially children are curious about what you are doing and they will come and sit with you. Before too long they make for very beautiful and natural models.”

For this reason portraits became the theme of her ELA gallery spring show. Her fondness of people, especially children, comes out clearly in her work. Her paintings are not just clear studies of individuals from around the world wearing their unique local garments, portrayed at a random moment. Whether shy, curious, dreamy, happy, concerned, amused, or concentrated, in bright watercolors Clémentine Boutry also brought out what went on inside of those who happened to cross her path. She caught a small glimpse of their souls and rendered them beautifully eternal.

Enjoy the show!


Gusta van Dobbenburgh



“Portraits, One year around the world”

Clémentine Boutry, watercolor

Show: April 23 – June 1, 2012

Monday through Friday

8h45 – 17h00

Location: ELA Gallery, Room 010

More info: //

Or call: 021 691 1188