Jean Jullien Prepares for Tokyo
This Friday, October 11th, Juxtapoz April 2016 cover artist Jean Jullien makes his debut at Tokyo powerhouse Nanzuka Underground. Returning to the capital a year after premiering his Japanse solo show at Gallery Target, the French artist presents a sweeping selection of new paintings and sculptural works on panel, topped off by Nanzuka Publishing's release of a book that traverses the artist's most recent journey through the world of painting.
Before his departure, we paid a visit to Jullien's Parisian studio to get a firsthand look at the works he's been preparing for Tokyo and other upcoming venues. Rejuvenated by an expanded love for painting at shows in Seoul, New York, San Francisco, Brussels and Miami, the artist heads to Tokyo and presents his latest series Lesconil, the title inspired by his family roots in Plobannalec-Lesconil, a port town in France’s Brittany region. This particular location is the mirepoix for the artist's newest direction, providing the settings, memories, experiences, and emotions the artist captures on canvas. Speaking about his process, Jullien notes that his "Paintings are very inexact, they're a mix of photo reference and loose depictions of things, not necessarily perfectly accurate. I love how we remember things differently, how we 'occult' certain details and emphasize others. Painting and drawing allow that deformation to be a narrative tool that I enjoy very much."
After years of focusing on illustrative work and diluting concepts to a key image or element, Jullien's imagery blossoms both technically and contextually. A family man, he focuses on life's everyday moments, hoping to capture the sentience and atmosphere of a given moment. Beach walks, a blooming field, surfing, family gatherings and laundry hanging in the breeze are some of the simple motifs he successfully distills in an expressive and intuitive visual language. Putting focus on vibrant elements such as flower color, reflections of the sun, fabric pattern and household objects, the artist provides intimate insight into his private life like never before. Along with fashioning an emotive visual diary of his life, the collection also speaks about the human relationship with nature. "The current realization of our impact on nature and the impending doom being declared in the media, over and over, is also an underlying thread. It's something I care about and think about a lot, but don't want to hammer out as it seems a bit easy and isn't the main focus."
This exhibition also marks the release of a publication that documents the body of work Jullien has been working on for the last year or so. Methodically organized by location, each piece featured in the book provides great insight into his process, background, and mindset into these pioneering paintings. In addition, a limited edition of 200 special BOX versions will be released along with limited quantities of jackets, T-shirts, and Japanese-style happi coats designed by the artist.
Lesconil opens at Nanzuka Underground on October 11th, and is on view through November 9, 2019.
Text and photo credit by Sasha Bogojev