Éric Buche

© BBL - Eric Buche
Éric Buche
Carte Blanche

Twice a year, the Bejart Ballet Lausanne invites a Swiss artist to create its own art project in line with the company.

Éric Buche | Capturing Movement


“I love watching dance shows. I was amazed to see the Béjart Ballet Lausanne dancers rehearsing in plainclothes, almost in their everyday clothes.” Éric Buche spent two days with the company, following classes, training sessions, rehearsals and Gil Roman’s creation process for his new choreography.

The Geneva-based cartoonist is passionate about movement, attitude and speed. “Sometimes I notice attitudes and gestures in dance that remind me of Chaplin’s poses in a silent film or of an Oriental statue. Each pose is unique and fleeting, even if the performance is dramatic. I tried to capture these moments in sketches in rehearsal: some worked, others didn’t. That’s the advantage of rehearsals, where the same movement is repeated several times, so I had time to check if my drawing was right.”

As you flip through his sketchbook at the BBL, you can sense his obsession with form and action. Form is all about modeling bodies, muscles and fabrics, which the artist can work on later using a computer. Action requires balance, speed and rhythm. “In rehearsals, I saw the efforts made by these athletes, who add artistic performance to their physical work.”

Éric Buche was born in Geneva in 1965, and attended the École supérieure d’arts visuels (now HEAD) to pursue his passion for drawing. He is best known for his Franky Snow comic series, which includes thirteen albums and a cartoon series, where he explores his love of skateboarding and snowboarding through the adventures of Franky and his group of friends. His dynamic and cheerful drawings conceal the huge amount of work that goes into making acrobatic figures look authentic. He’s a runner himself (he’s done Sierre-Zinal several times and runs the Escalade race every year), and has a passion for skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and hiking. These dance athletes “blew him away with their artistic dimension”.

The cartoonist is always open to new approaches with his art, and often works as an illustrator for art projects, creating short animations for his clients, or comic strip reports for the cultural quarterly Off Magazine. “My first glimpse behind the scenes of the BBL happened when I was working for Off Magazine. However, comic strip reporting is very different from my fiction work. I know what I’m going to see, I get a lot out of it, but I don’t yet know how I’m going to tell the story, how I’m going to create the plot.”

During his time at Beaulieu, he enjoyed seeing Gil Roman’s new choreography created live. “It was magical,” he says, “all he had to do was explain his ideas. It was fascinating to see how the whole company understood them and brought them to life almost instantly. Like musicians interpreting a score. It was also crazy to see the collective force, to see how dancers could suggest different ideas to the choreographer, and to witness this creative dialogue. For me, who usually creates in my own solitary bubble, it was refreshing.“

Buche’s drawings are always cheerful, friendly and positive. He gets his vibrant drawing style from his childhood. “Between Hergé’s Tintin and Franquin’s Spirou, I chose Spirou, because of its dynamism, action and sense of movement. Hergé’s work is very well done, but it’s a bit static. That’s not my style.”

He often works with ink and direct colors, using Ecoline. These inks provide very vivid colors if they’re not diluted too much. He also frequently uses computers and his graphics tablet, as he did for Copyright Girl, a play in Zurich, where comic-book characters are projected onto the set and interact with the real actors. “I’m lucky to work in Switzerland, there’s so much artistic activity.”

David Moginier, journalist

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