Since 1989, the French engraver, printer, and book artist DIDIER MUTEL has created more than 40 works, including artist books, prints, engravings, atlases, and sculptures. Didier’s breakthrough success came in 1994, when he designed and printed his edition of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a two-volume project in English and French. Several ambitious works followed, including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2002) and Through the Looking Glass(2004), which cemented his reputation as one of the leading book artists of his generation. In 2013 he received prestigious title of Maître d’art; and he was awarded the Prix Liliane Bettencourt pour l’Intelligence de la Main, a juried prize for exceptional talent that recognized his book, R217A(2016), as a work “resulting from a perfect mastery of techniques and savoir-faire of artistic craft.” He joined the faculty of the Institut Supérieur des Beaux Arts, Besançon, France in 2003, where he continues to teach courses on engraving and drawing. From 1997-1999 Didier was in residence at the Villa Medici in Rome where he produced two collaborative books. He received in 1997 the Grand Prix des Métiers d’Art from the city of Paris.
His studio, the ATELIER DIDIER MUTEL, is France’s oldest etching studio in continuous operation, founded in 1793 as the Atelier Rémond—which printed the monumental engravings forLa Description de l’Égypte(1809), and Redouté’s sublime Les Roses(1817). Passed from master to apprentice for over 200 years, Didier took over the Atelier Georges Leblanc from his master Pierre Lallier in 2008. The historic equipment, presses, tools, and pigments were transported to Orchamps (in the Jura), reinstalling the studio under his own name where he continues to print and teach the next generation of artists the art of acid engraving, printing, and design.
Didier has said of his work, “I am deeply involved with the history, the tools and the techniques of etching and engraving. But my commitment is to feed new and contemporary ways to engrave, and not to engage in a contemplative nostalgia. The artist book is for me a great research geography, which allows all manner of exploration. For my work there is a link between the 20th and 21st centuries, a time when we are seeing the dematerialization of the book. The rediscovery of its great sensual, sharp and endless attraction, goes farther than just the domain of the artist book, it deals with the way we produce, the time required to achieve exceptional results, and the objects we want to live with—the book for instance not as the memory of an old artifact but as a powerful and living dynamic contemporary field of creation.”
Didier Mutel is a French artist, engraver, printer, publisher, and book maker. Born in 1971, he entered the Ecole Estienne at 15, then studied at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, and continued his studies at the l’Atelier National de Création Typographique à l’Imprimerie Nationale.