Thomas Godin presents prints of paradisical landscapes

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Thomas Godin Manila exhibit Archipelago
Installation view of Thomas Godin’s exhibit “Archipelago”

In a dynamic one-night exhibit at Whitespace Makati, French painter and printmaker Thomas Godin unveiled his latest work for “Archipelago”



Last February 21, 2024, Brittany-based artist Thomas Godin (b. 1987, Morlaix) unveiled his newest series of prints at Whitespace Makati in his one-day exhibition “Archipelago.”

READ MORE: What to expect at ALT Philippines 2024

Growing up beside a magnificent coastline with a rich history, it’s no wonder that the artist is compelled by the similar landscapes of the Philippines. Invited by his childhood friend, Jacques Christophe-Branellec, CEO of Jewelmer, he shares how while most of his work suggests an ode to Brittany, he also connects to his travels from Benin to Mexico, Bhutan, and most especially, to the Philippines. Godin says:

“This is all about the Philippines. Everything here is linked with this crazy country I discovered fifteen years ago, thanks to Jacques Christophe. I grew up in front of their family house in Saint-Pol-de-Léon in Brittany. The first time I came [to the Philippines] I immediately fell in love. I traveled around the country and at the end of the the trip, I traveled to Palawan by chopper and I said—’this landscape is crazy from above the islands!’ And I’ve been so moved since. I was not an artist at that time, but everything stayed stuck in my mind.”

Thomas Godin
Exhibited work by Thomas Godin.

Before his career as an artist, Godin worked in the Information Technology industry. It was on the job at IT when he experienced a “eureka” moment, discovering an unexpected introduction to the beauty of these chemical mixtures.

“By accident, I discovered this printmaking technique. I quit my job to operate my own studio. I didn’t know how to do it really because I hadn’t been to any art school. No teacher, nothing. But when I discovered the technique—I immediately knew that it would be my life.”

The self-taught artist now imagines iodized worlds on paper through a press roller, ink, and paint on an engraved metal plate with a sheet of paper, ultimately creating a timeless, universal aesthetic.

Thomas Godin artist
Artist Thomas Godin.

His process is highly meticulous and technically challenging. The procedure involves a metal plate and a press, following engraving processes from the Renaissance period. Although the work to make a piece can be tedious, Godin honors the process by using natural pigments and the highest quality paper. In art conservation, older paper is always better quality than newer paper, as it’s non-acidic and made of cotton, without glue. Godin uses these sturdy cotton papers, which are set to be more sustainable long-term in our humid environment.

Taking from the vast landscapes he himself so admires, the artist creates vast images that aim to immerse the viewer. Currently, Godin is established as the printmaker with the largest press in the world. He can create work up to ten meters in length in a single piece. 

After tirelessly working with colors and chemistry, Godin opened his first studio at Landerneau in 2016. By 2017, he was commissioned by Taittinger/UNESCO Reims, and was personally handpicked by former Chairman Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger. While in 2018, he had his first exhibition in the Philippines. Recently, in 2022, he was commissioned for a monumental fresco at the Villa Mangini.

Thomas Godin with Branellecs
Godin’s exhibition at Pig & Palm, Cebu City, Philippines, in 2018, with Mia Arcenas-Branellec and Jacques Christophe-Branellec.
Thomas Godin at Villa Mangini
The imposing “Lumen” frescos by Thomas Godin at Villa Mangini.

For his recent exhibition “Archipelago,” these tropical islands hit close to the artist’s home and his memories of the Finistère coastline. However, he clarifies that he still wants viewers to imagine their own visions in his art pieces, not constrained to motif or subject. Still, gazing at the images various shapes and stains in the image, aspects of nature become distinguishable. 

Besides the undeniable seascapes, Godin tells us about how the discs echo universality like “talismans, with influence from China and Celtic roots, or even minerals, or trees… The oceans, the islands, the shoals, the beautiful preserved underwater life. Brittany and Filipino people are close, I think because they are close to nature.” 

He shows one work inspired by the Sta. Ana church, another by the Cordilleran Ling-ling-o amulet. One lovely circular “Archipelago Flowers” aims to emulate the lava under the Taal volcano. With almost 100 pieces, the exhibit evidences the artist’s studies of the culture of the Philippines—from mythology to geological landscapes. 

Thomas Godin art
“Archipelago flower” etching on zinc, polychrome print. One of a kind. 120 x 120 cm.
Thomas Godin art
An homage to the Cordilleran Lingling-o pendant. “Ling-ling-o” etching on zinc, polychrome print. One of a kind. 120 x 120 cm.

Thomas Godin shows a definite passion for his craft. At several points, he even presses himself up to the surface of the prints, almost embracing the artwork. We are likely to see more of this French artist in the Philippines, as he tells us of his plans to set up a studio in Manila in a few months. He tells LIFESTYLE.INQ, “I know that to feel complete I need to have a part of my life here in the Philippines.”

Creating compositions with a refined sense of light and color, as well as a superior understanding of the mechanical aspects of printing and etching, Godin presents archipelagic creations to Manila, which connects to a universal sense of the world.

Discover the art of Thomas Godin here.

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