Double exploration. Jean-Jacques Rullier & Alexandra David-Neel


Jean-Jacques Rullier & Alexandra David-Neel


Exhibition opening Friday 12 July 2019, from 6:00pm

Exhibition from July 13th to September 22th 2019




“I used every means of locomotion; railroads, boats, planes, horse, camel, elephant, but mostly I walked, I was on foot, backpacking from China to India through Tibet. I have contemplated many countries and at the same time I have examined the mental landscapes, as various as the physical landscapes represented by the social and religious philosophical conceptions of the human mind. This double exploration has occupied my whole life and will continue, I hope, to hold it until my last day.”

Alexandra David-Neel



For the fifty years anniversary of Alexandra David-Neel ‘s death and the opening of the House Museum which was dedicated to her at Digne-les-Bains, the CAIRN art centre invites the artist Jean-Jacques Rullier to explore the archives of the Orientalist writer, left to the city after her death in 1969.

Sensitive to the physical experience of walking, Jean-Jacques Rullier studied the rich collection of maps and notes that guided the explorer during her travels, especially in Tibet. As a walker and explorer, he has also crossed the regions close to India and Himalayas, which can be found in his drawings where he brings together symbols and a specific iconography to these territories.

The exhibition will propose a tour through manuscripts, drawn maps, books and objects from the archives of the Alexandra David-Neel’s House, documents from the National Library of France, the Quai Branly Museum Library (Paris), the Library of Digne-les-Bains and old works from a private collection.

This ensemble will enter into dialogue with the artist’sworks in order to resonate the physical experience of walking and the more interior and spiritual itineraries linked to the belief systems of regions visited.

The artist invites us to discover a journey questioning the notion of cartography; progressing from maps of physical places to diagrams reflecting intangible perceptions. We will cross spaces and geographical places more and more precisely understood, from philosophical and cosmogonic notions to representations of subtle and energetic bodies, especially deep in the Oriental and Tibetan cultures, privileged exploration centers of Alexandra David-Neel.


This exhibition is a part of the project Des marches, démarches, carried by the Frac Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, an event which proposes to bring together, around a common dynamic, many cultural actors, associations or educational institutions established in the regional territory. Info:


Jean-Jacques Rullier, The walk in the mountains, 2014. Ink and crayons on paper, Scan. Fotimprim.


Jean-Jacques Rullier (1962, Bourg-Saint-Maurice), lives and works in Paris. Fascinated by folk culture and encyclopedic tentation, attracted by travel as a privileged experiences’ space, his journeys lead to series of photographies, drawings and installations which find their final result in editions and artists’ books, in addition to exhibitions. His taste for border-places brings him into researchs where anthropology, scientific investigation, cartography, traveler’ story and poetic reverie meet.