2023_0914_DE_BALINCOURT_Midnight Movers_v20

Jules de Balincourt

Midnight Movers

Sep 15 – Oct 28, 2023
New York
Exhibition Details:

Jules de Balincourt
Midnight Movers
Sep 15 – Oct 28, 2023


540 West 25th Street
New York


Press Release


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Above: Installation view, Jules de Balincourt: Midnight Movers, Sep 15 – Oct 28, 2023, Pace Gallery, New York © Jules de Balincourt

Pace is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Jules de Balincourt at its 540 West 25th Street gallery in New York.

On view from September 15 to October 28, this exhibition, titled Midnight Movers, will mark the artist’s debut presentation with Pace in New York and his first solo show in the city in a decade. De Balincourt is known for his vibrant compositions imbued with mystery, ambiguity, and psychological import. Taking a singularly expressive approach to making, de Balincourt discovers his paintings as he paints them. In a process akin to abstraction, de Balincourt’s paintings begin with pure form, gradually unfolding a unique mode of figuration. He eschews preparatory sketches in favor of an imaginative process guided by his own stream of consciousness. Despite their formal idiosyncrasies, his boldly and brightly hued works share a lyrical, oneiric quality that defies easy categorization—painting is let loose in service of discovering the medium’s pleasures and possibilities.

The artist’s work often examines the discordant and harmonious dynamics at play in the relationship between humanity and the natural world. In de Balincourt’s hands, individual marks seem to dissolve and give way to layered effects and formal disturbances, which keep the eye in a state of constant motion. Figures are dissolved and disaggregated to the point of abstraction, coaxing bodies into landscapes and landscapes into bodies.

The surface of his work is almost always wood panel, a support that harkens back to the history of the medium in medieval and Renaissance Europe, and, in his intuitive approach to color, de Balincourt draws on Fauvist and Expressionist predecessors. Yet the scenes he paints are unmistakably contemporary: artifacts that speak to the ways that the subconscious can reflect the social, political, and cultural conditions of an increasingly anxious and restless world, shaped by the forces of globalization and technology.

A sense of the nomadic and itinerant pervades de Balincourt’s paintings. Figures seem suspended in the process of movement or displacement. A prevailing ambiguity underlies these moments of transit: are de Balincourt’s figures in motion out of leisure or out of desperation? Are they partaking in a bucolic stroll or a long march, as if escaping from some unseen threat?

The themes of alienation, migration, and ambiguity, which cut through the works that will feature in de Balincourt’s exhibition at Pace, are also echoed in the organization of the exhibition itself. Paintings of varying in sizes are placed in juxtaposition, creating spatial relationships that convey a sense of rhythmic interaction. The resulting installation plays a key role, inflecting viewers’ interpretations of each composition.

De Balincourt’s mirage-like scenes and imagined dreamscapes are populated by mysterious personages and uncanny figurations. Spectral bodies and silhouettes dance throughout these unknown realms steeped in radiant color, where movement and form are liberated from ideology.

While de Balincourt uses symbols and metaphors to describe the social and political circumstances in which he works, no single narrative underpins his paintings. Instead, the artist invites contemplation and interpretation, moving freely between varied subject matter and juxtaposing seemingly discordant themes. Often, references to contemporary life contrast with dreamlike scenes, as in the motif of fantasy castle colliding with images of the here- and-now, testifying to the flexible powers of painting as a mode of imaginative inquiry.

In many of de Balincourt’s paintings, a sinister undertone pervades otherwise utopian settings. A nocturnal scene of a campsite nestled in a windswept forest reverberates with both yearning and foreboding, and, in another work, a unknown figures congregate according to strange logics in a bacchanalian gathering, conveying both threat and intrigue. Cutting across his work is a deep sensitivity to both the nuances of the human condition and the events and crises that inflect individuals’ experiences of the everyday.

With his body of new paintings, de Balincourt constructs a tapestry of alternate realities that shadow our own, darkly reflecting the energies, longings, and sublimations in which the psychological fabric of daily life is woven.


Exhibition Film

Jules de Balincourt on Midnight Movers

In this new interview, Jules de Balincourt dissects his process and the ways that he explores the natural world, globalization, technology, and psychology in his works.


Featured Works

Jules de Balincourt, Les Arriviste, 2023, oil on panel, 34" × 30" × 1-7/8" (86.4 cm × 76.2 cm × 4.8 cm)
Jules de Balincourt, Untitled, 2023, oil and oil stick on panel, 44" × 48" × 1-3/4" (111.8 cm × 121.9 cm × 4.4 cm)
Jules de Balincourt, Between Heaven and Earth, 2023, oil and oil stick on panel, 70" × 80" (177.8 cm × 203.2 cm)
Jules de Balincourt, Divided Camps, 2023, oil and oil stick on panel, 70" × 80" (177.8 cm × 203.2 cm)
Jules de Balincourt, Fire on the Mountain, 2023, oil and oil stick on panel, 70" × 80" (177.8 cm × 203.2 cm)
Jules de Balincourt, The People that Paid and Played, 2023, oil and oil stick on panel, 44" × 48" × 2" (111.8 cm × 121.9 cm × 5.1 cm)

Installation Views


About the Artist

Jules de Balincourt is known internationally for colorful, radiant paintings that meditate on the social, political, and cultural dynamics of an increasingly globalized world. Born in Paris in 1972, de Balincourt spent most of his childhood years in California, and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York and Malpais, Costa Rica.

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