48th Montreux Jazz Festival Poster Sculpted by Yoann Lemoine (Woodkid)

Posted on February 28, 2014 by UNITED PHOTO PRESS MAGAZINE


The poster for the 48th edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival transcends time and space. This monochromatic masterpiece was designed and crafted by Yoann Lemoine, better known on stage and records as Woodkid. He based his work on a 3-dimensional scan of one of jazz’s most emblematic instruments and then took advantage of the complex shape, with its intriguing imperfections and hollows. This entirely digital process, sculptural in nature, resulted in the Festival’s first ever 3D poster. The mineral feel of Woodkid’s artwork evokes the unique landscape of the Montreux region.

In the Montreux tradition of nurturing special relationships with artists, Lemoine was given carte blanche to produce the Festival poster after his memorable stage performances at Montreux. In 2012, after his concert at the Festival, Claude Nobs invited Woodkid to perform the following year at the Auditorium Stravinski, this time with Lausanne’s Sinfonietta orchestra. That performance prefigured this year’s poster, with brass instruments resonating with Woodkid’s hi-tech soundscape as part of his relentless, and avowedly unattainable, pursuit of perfection.

Lemoine has many irons in the fire: in addition to his music, he has had success as a graphic designer, photographer, and director of prize-winning videos, inhabiting these various spheres with verve and vision. He burst onto the scene as Woodkid with his first album in 2011, followed up by a tour and then 2013’s The Golden Age.

A few questions for Yoann Lemoine

Yoann Lemoine
How did you end up involved in this latest project with the Montreux Jazz Festival?
I met with Mathieu Jaton in Lausanne last October. He asked me to produce the poster for the next edition.

How did you come up with the idea of the poster?
t started with a connection I discovered between technology and the Montreux Jazz Festival. I spent some time with Claude Nobs during my first visit to Montreux, and he told me how the Festival had made the first HD concert recordings, in 1991 with Sting I think. I was really struck by that revelation, as my roots are in the world of the image. Claude Nobs had his eyes on the future: he spoke about the possibility of capturing 3D images, a technology I use in my graphic design work.

One element dominates the image: a trumpet. Why that choice? 
Because the trumpet is one of the major symbols of jazz. The poster image was made from a 3D scan and the purposeful alteration of its shape, including bugs and gaps. The process echoes the way I do music and graphic design. I try to understand the digital world that surrounds us and to find in it the sensitive spot, the emotion, or even the human imperfection that is key to the beauty of music, especially jazz. What I really find interesting with this poster is that it is a kind of collision of past and future. It is simultaneously simple, pared down, and futuristic–it’s different from the posters we usually see.

It’s also the first ever 3D poster in the history of the Festival, as well as the first to be pretty much all white. How did you bridge your artistic universe and the world of the Montreux Jazz Festival?
I haven’t really thought about that question. Since the history of the Festival’s posters reflects a great eclecticism and a wide variety of esthetic choices, I felt that anything was possible. Of course, I wanted to keep a strong tie to music, so I went with the theme of the instrument. That worked better for me than evoking more nostalgic themes related to the history of jazz. I wanted to incorporate that into the contemporary, sort of like when, in my music, I bring brasses into a digital soundscape.

Yoann Lemoine’s official website: www.woodkid.com