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Unfathomability and vulnerability

I Wish

Ingrid Godon & Toon Tellegen

From behind a transparent end-board with ‘I wish’ written on it in big letters, a boy’s face stares out at the reader. It is the first of 33 portraits that take you back to a bygone age. Ingrid Godon was inspired by an old photo album of family portraits, at a time when it was not yet permitted to smile openly at the camera. We see children and their parents looking stiffly straight ahead. Godon adapted them in her own typical simple style. And so the working-class families from around the turn of the twentieth century were again immortalised, this time with pencil and gouache.

An extraordinary book
Süddeutsche Zeitung

Toon Tellegen wrote accompanying fragments of thoughts, almost all of which begin with ‘I wish’. Little reflections with a philosophical character from the heads of the sitters. Idiosyncratic and witty but mainly often rather sad. These people do not always have it easy in life. They are uncertain and frightened and full of vague longings. The texts reflect a feeling of futility and impotence which suits the melancholy atmosphere of the prints. ‘I wish’ is a unique and personal document on ‘la condition humaine’, which reveals great sensibility. A book that is perfectly suited to go on leafing through.

The ideal gift book. Both recognisable and surprising
De Standaard
A carefully distilled and intriguing book about ‘being’
De Morgen
'An essential shade in the rich palette of the Flemish illustration world'
Francine Bouchet, publisher at La joie de lire (Switzerland)

'It was the simplicity and efficiency of illustrator Ingrid Godon’s earlier work that immediately appealed to me as a publisher. I soon realized, though, that this illustrator had more, much more, to offer. I discovered her delicate characters, just barely sketched, which are not of this world and seem to arise from an infinite sensitivity, which scarcely dares to express itself.

And then came her crowning achievement: 'I Wish'. A series of portraits, like phantoms surfacing from a strange memory. They challenge, question, disturb. Their unease is also our own. This was followed by 'I Think', which in spite of the striking similarity is still different.

With these two publications, the illustrator has revealed herself to be an artist who is capable of charting her own course, going wherever her pencils and her hand take her. It must be said that illustrators who have this dual capacity to depict a theme without compromising the requirements of purely artistic expression are thin on the ground.

Ingrid Godon is an essential shade in the rich palette of the Flemish illustration world. We are proud to call her one of our own.'