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Montreal Museum of Fine Arts opens Jules de Balincourt Paintings 2004–2013

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presents Jules de Balincourt Paintings 2004–2013 an exhibition on view November 28, 2013–April 6, 2014. The artist has been a notable figure on the New York art scene for the past decade, and his works can be found in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and most recently at the MMFA. Designed like an installation by the artist himself, this exhibition brings together a group of paintings in various formats executed in the past ten years.

Jules de Balincourt, Boys’ Club, 2011. Oil on plywood. MMFA, gift of W. Bruce C. Bailey in honour of Stéphane Aquin. Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris/Salzburg. Photo: MMFA, Christine Guest.
Jules de Balincourt, Boys’ Club, 2011. Oil on plywood. MMFA, gift of W. Bruce C. Bailey in honour of Stéphane Aquin. Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris/Salzburg. Photo: MMFA, Christine Guest.
Stéphane Aquin, Curator of Contemporary Art at the MMFA and curator of this exhibition, adds, “Jules de Balincourt is one of a very small group of contemporary painters who have been able to bring an entirely fresh approach to their art at the start of this new millennium. His paintings, which cover the spectrum of all possible styles, from abstraction to figuration and painted text, are like images of the changing topography of social relationships in this era of globalization and virtual platforms.”

The themes of the exhibition
American soldiers, men’s clubs, masked groups, fairytale landscapes, public demonstrations, imaginary maps and social admonitions: the subjects of the works shown in Montreal are exemplary illustrations of the remarkable open-mindedness of de Balincourt’s pictorial approach. His paintings, which borrow some effects from new media—spatial illusions, manipulated colours and the increased use of signs, to name but a few—allow us to see the many challenges of a changing world: the globalization of trade, the militarization and expansion of protest movements, the conflicts between corporations and communities, technological concentration and environmental imbalances…The painter defines himself as a “tourist of globalization who consumes culture both visually and intellectually and who transmits his personal visions in the form of images.” In this, his first survey exhibition in North America, de Balincourt maps out a new course for painting, to picture, to make images of, the fundamental movements that determine the way the world is going, something that no other technology could do so well.

The exhibition Jules de Balincourt, Paintings 2004–2013 will also reveal the painter’s remarkable artistic versatility: he has refused to confine himself to a single stylistic pigeonhole or a given type of production. Drawing from the rich repertoire of possibilities in painting, de Balincourt moves freely and easily from abstraction to figuration, from imaginary topography to calligraphic text, from landscape to group portraits, from re-using images found on the Internet to referencing paintings by Matisse.

Jules de Balincourt was born in Paris in 1972 and moved to the United States with his family in the early 1980s. After studying at the California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco, where he developed an interest in the art of ceramics, which he practised for some time, he settled in New York, completing a master’s degree at the city’s Hunter College in 2005. He lives and works in Brooklyn, and is one of its art scene’s main driving forces. Dubbed “Starr Space,” his Starr Street studio in the Bushwick district serves as a community centre, performance and concert space, as well as an art gallery for neighbourhood artists.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Contemporary Art Square
Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion
1380 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec