City Lit Blog

Artists in Lockdown - Aurelia Duplouich, Fine Art Year 1

Story added 22nd Jul 2020

"Ashes to ashes" series 1 and 3

Artists in Lockdown
Aurelia Duplouich, City Lit Fine Art Year 1


I am enrolled on the City Lit Fine Arts course year 1 and have found it very good. The taught modules focussed on installation, walking art and land art was perfect for me. 

I made this series during spring 2020, at the very beginning of lockdown. I was then staying in a farm in southern France where confinement was very strict, and all I was allowed was taking short walks around the farm. And, I didn’t have a single paintbrush or drawing paper with me. 

I started noticing pine trees dying because of recurring droughts due to raising temperatures in the region. And so, despite the beautiful landscapes around me, there was that sort of slow, underlying threat everywhere. Seeing these many trees dying or already down in the forest was incredibly shocking.  We all have this image in our mind of big forest trees as solid, and almost eternal beings crossing times untouched. Through these pieces, I wanted to show the fragility of nature and that sort of constant intertwining of life and death, which is so much more visible there…and now.

Ashes to ashes series 3

"Ashes to ashes" series 1 and 3

I chose to work with sound and made an audio collage of my life and how I perceived it during lockdown. I recorded everything with my phone and used a free software Garageband to mix the sounds on my laptop. I wouldn't have thought of working with sound without the constraints imposed on me. It was, retrospectively, a very creative time and I am really grateful for the support I received then.

I have used branches and sticks collected from dead trees, and drawn with the ashes and natural charcoal from the fire I made with the branches, giving them a second life.

I think lockdown brought together for me many experiences I had over the past couple of years and condensed them. I chose to deal with political issues and its impact on the environment, which is a topic I have been thinking about for some time. I also used a new skill I acquired while in lockdown, which is mixing tracks  with Garageband as this was something I had to develop to help my vocal harmony group stay alive during lockdown. Instead of getting together to sing, we would record each our vocal part and I would then mix them in a final piece.

Ashes to ashes series 1 and 3

"Ashes to ashes" series 1 and 3

It is a paradox but being far away from each other, I felt us classmates got to know each other better because of the format of communication we had to use. Zoom calls that we all sort got fed up with, was also a way of bringing us closer and expressing ourselves more.

I would like to develop my sound piece into a 3D installation once physical distancing is over. I have been thinking of integrating a visual side to it. Either in sign language or as a dance performance that could be projected alongside the sound track. Hopefully this is something this is something I can develop in Year 2.