For the first time, Perrotin Paris presents a series of paintings by Jean-Philippe Delhomme. Known for his illustrations, Delhomme offers us Los Angeles Langage, an exhibition inspired by a prolonged stay in the American city and comprising about fifty small format oil paintings based on photographic snapshots.
For years, Delhomme has been pursuing his practice as a painter, keeping it private until 2015 with an initial exhibition in New York. He paints scenes devoid of all human presence, based on direct observation of the urban landscape of major cities like New York, Paris and Los Angeles.
This image here : West Coast Paint and Body, depicts a car repair garage. Paint and Body is also about painting, before conceptual art. To me, it really was the very indicator of what I wanted to do and what I believe to be painting.
His perspective on these cities bears witness to the coalescence of past, present and future that the architectural fabric manifests through these environments in constant transformation: the industrial building threatened by demolition to make way for a new apartment block captures his attention, and his “vistas” are charged with literary and artistic references. Delhomme’s landscape participates in an authorly perception which serves as the common thread between the different forms of expression that he masters: drawing, writing and painting.
The exhibition is based on suites of paintings in small format that initiate potential narratives by capturing the wonder of fleeting moments perceived in passing. Indeed, Los Angeles is a city that we discover from the point of view of a car: we walk very little there, instead taking the freeways to go from Santa Monica to Silver Lake or from Bel Air to Downtown.
For a long time, I have been pursuing this painting work, it is a bit at the opposite of what I’ve done for press or books. When I paint, I try to watch, to show the moment.
For a foreigner, the city, with which we are familiar from film imagery, has an air of déjà-vu about it. For Delhomme, the references are oriented less towards the world of cinema than towards the work of artists who have expressed the signs of California: Ed Ruscha, who catalogued his Twentysix Gasoline Stations and Thirtyfour Parking Lots in Los Angeles in the 1960s; David Hockney and the luminous hedonism of his Hollywood villas; and Chris Burden’s maximal constructions in Metropolis, or his radical performances of the 1970s. Photographers such as William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Julius Shulman, Robert Frank and Dennis Hopper guide Delhomme’s gaze when he traverses the city at the wheel of his rental car – at once on the periphery and at the center, and always in movement.
His pictorial approach also borrows as much from the imaginary world developed by certain avant-garde artists of the sixties and seventies – notably in the choice of scenic framing and the banality of the urban landscape – as from American representational painters such as Milton Avery or Fairfield Porter, in his commitment to an expressive figuration of the real.
Born in 1959 in Nanterre, France
Lives and works between Paris, France and New York, New York, USA
Jean-Philippe Delhomme (born 1959) is a French artist, illustrator and writer. He publishes work in numerous journals and magazines such as Vanity Fair and Apartamento, and has previously collaborated with GQ, August Journal, Pin-Up Magazine, L’Obs, Architectural Digest, The LA Times, The New Yorker, W magazine and Vogue (France, UK, Japan).
His recent publications include Classe Ego, Artist’s Instagram, Paris Journal, New York Travel Book (Louis Vuitton), The Unknown Hipster Diaries, Drame de la Déco, La Chose Littéraire, Art Contemporain and Design Addicts, among others. He has recently released several novels including Journal Lacustre, Comique de proximité, La Dilution de l’artisteand Mémoire d’un pitbull.
This exhibition is curated by Lucien Terras.
—More about the artist