Jean Jullien has always been much more than an illustrator. From his beloved editorial pieces to his paintings and products, each time Jean releases a project the It’s Nice That studio is engulfed in a buzz.
His latest project is no different, creating an exhibition where he’s not only made the work that adorns the wall, but those staring at it too. Staring at the work from our desks, we literally can’t work out how he’s done it either.
Titled GIB and held at Arsham/Fieg Gallery in New York until 18 November, the exhibition is built around Jean’s idea to “play with scale and perception”. Any regular followers of his work will have noted how painting has become increasingly integral to his practice.
Behind the scenes he’s been making even more pieces, all on similar size canvases. The small size of the Arsham/Fieg Gallery, co-curated by Ronnie Fieg and Daniel Arsham, was decided as the ideal place to see how his works could squeeze in.
The works themselves expand on Jean’s thinking behind the exhibition, “depicting smallish characters in great landscapes.” To further expand on this, stood to the side of the paintings are 3D characters designed “at the same scale, but in his drawing style so that, in photos, the exhibition looks like a series of large-scale paintings viewed by surreal characters”.
Looking at the images via photographs, it appears exactly as this description puts it. The artist’s use of scale truly makes it seem that life-size Jean Jullien glaring characters have been designed and then you slowly realised he’s pulled the wool over your eyes and the works are miniature. But, without being able to pop over to New York ourselves and see how this is actually possible, the imagery of the exhibition makes the scale of Jean’s paintings, and now sculptures too, actually ridiculously difficult to determine.
Nevertheless, a show which features Jean’s paintings, playful perception and his characteristic humour too is a must see. And if you were wondering: “The show is called GIB because it’s the opposite of big.”
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