Gilles Trehin: Another Beautiful Mind

Gilles Trehin is a 34 year old Frenchman who has created a city in his mind  called Urville. In more that 200 drawings, he has crafted a city with an elaborate history reaching back to before the Middle Ages, complete with an entire culture that includes religious, political, and economic records. The city’s life is mapped out with information about its universities, industries, and cultural events. Gilles, who has been diagnosed as autistic but probably has an autistic spectrum condition called Asperger’s Syndrome, is an angelic looking man who hopes to make a living as an artist. He also has perfect pitch and an interest in prime numbers. His first word, at three years old, was “airplane.”

Earlier stories about Gilles have focused on his autism, making him sound like an inordinately gifted chimp. After watching this video of him, I see that he is an intelligent but somewhat otherworldly young man with a truly beautiful spirit. His drawings are awe-inspiring, and his prodigious intelligence is very moving to behold — for me, anyway. Rather than being a poster-boy for the disabled, Gilles Trehin is a multi-gifted genius who should be celebrated as such. You can see some of drawings here  at the Kircher Society, (whose dedication to “the wondrous” makes it a delightful website to visit.)

Gilles Trehin’s book, Urville, published by Jessica Kingsley, is available from and directly from the publisher.

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One Response to Gilles Trehin: Another Beautiful Mind

  1. Elena says:

    those drawings are AMAZING. someone that brilliant would almost HAVE to be wired differently from the average joe. whose to say michelangelo didn’t have aspergers?

    I saw a video of this guy with severe tourette’s syndrome, complete with constant tics so his body was always in motion – he is a painter – even with these spasms constantly racking his body – and he is the most amazing painter – his pictures are so vibrant and passionate and incredibly vital, very powerful – almost like he channels the energy pulsing through his body and his mind through this creative medium. i went googling to find him and i think his name is Lyle Maze, evidently they just made a movie about him – but i saw the real guy who was interviewed for a clinical course, not a film i watched. i can’t find ANYTHING on him on the internet except stuff about the film, which is too bad. anyway my impression as always is that we have to be careful what we pathologize… once you label something you tend to stop trying to understand it and so much can be missed and lost.

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