Artist: Julie Beaufils
Venue: Balice Hertling, Paris
Date: June 18 – July 25, 2020
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Balice Hertling, Paris. Photos by Aurélien Mole.
Balice Hertling is pleased to present the fourth solo exhibition of Julie Beaufils at the gallery.
Zoe Stillpass: Could you explain the technique that you have developed, your way of working?
Julie Beaufils: Without completely abandoning figuration, I kept drawing as a fundamental practice. Each drawn line then began to exist in its own right within a composition, no longer being the edge of something else. Because of this, I have completely changed my way of working – from how I prepare my canvases to mixing colors. I choose to work with a very lightweight canvas, and during the sizing process, I make sure that the original raw color is conserved. This makes the diluted colors appear more matte. Many layers of different shades are necessary to produce any given color.
Z.S.: What immediately struck me in your recent paintings were the colors. The combinations are both very beautiful and very strange. There is a kind of vibration between the colors that creates atmospheres. Could you speak more about your choice of colors and their importance?
J.B.: In each painting, the color combinations depend on the initial color, which then sets the work in motion. It’s like a chain reaction. As soon as the first glaze is applied to a part of the canvas, other shades of this same color suggest themselves. Then, when it appears balanced, the goal is to find a color that could destroy this equilibrium. And so on and so forth. What often happens is that, at a given moment, a particular color changes the direction of everything. This color and the way it makes the other colors vibrate takes the painting to an in- between space, where the composition no longer represents anything in particular but instead diffuses an atmosphere, opening onto different perspectives.
Z.S.: As you evoked earlier, your paintings depict mental landscapes, spaces in which we move through. Could you speak more about this?
J.B.: To continue what I was saying about color, I think that it’s the way that the different tonalities vibrate at the core of a painting that allows one access to visual memory. The way in which two colors resonate with each other can recall a place you’ve once visited, along with all the thoughts that go with that place. Last year, when I was traveling in the Californian desert, I remember a moment when I pulled over to look at a map. Getting out of the car, I saw that the landscape was completely flat, a uniform 180 degrees, as though from this position, the landscape could be expressed in 2D with one single line, continuous and infinite. Every place you visit is engraved differently in the mind, symbolized by a shape or a color or a scent. Certain colors allow me to remember places that left their mark, to remember certain thoughts, and then to intensify or magnify these thoughts, without painting their exact appearance. It’s also a way to touch the infinite space that we were talking about before with the tip of your finger, for one’s thoughts and memories cannot be limited to a finite number.
Excerpts from Art historian Zoe Stillpass in conversation with artist Julie Beaufils about the affective force of painting, to read the full interview check out http://www.balicehertling.com/reading-rooms
Julie Beaufils was born in France in 1987. She lives and works in Paris. Beaufils studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and at University of Southern California’s Roski School of Art in Los Angeles. She has exhibited in various galleries and institutions such as Balice Hertling, Paris ; Mendes Wood DM, Sao Paolo ; La Kunsthalle, Mulhouse ; Overduin & Co, Los Angeles ; Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, Paris amongst others.
Zoe Stillpass is an American art historian based in Paris. In 2018, she obtained her Ph.D. in the history and theory of art from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (EHESS). Her research focuses on artistic practices that, since the late twentieth century, have called attention to non-human agency. She regularly contributes to international contemporary art magazines and exhibition catalogs. She also teaches a seminar entitled “History of Contemporary Ideas” in the MFA program at the École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ÉCAL).