Imagine a beach packed with people. What do you see? What for some are tourists enjoying the sun on the sand in California, for others are a group of refugees who have just landed on the Mediterranean coast. One image (Untitled, 2010), two realities. For the first time in Spain, Jules de Balincourt is exhibiting his deceptive art, idyllic scenes that hide disturbing narratives open to the interpretation of those who see it at the CAC Malaga. With bright and fluorescent colours, this French artist - who divides his time between the US and Costa Rica - gives shape to a private universe which moves between utopia and dystopia. "Emotional painting," he calls it.
"It's like a family reunion. These works have never been on display before, so that's satisfying. I like the spectator to be able to create their own stories, connecting one with the others," he said.
The exhibition will be in the main room at the CAC until 30 May. There are 40 paintings on pieces of wood, none on canvas, which De Balincourt has created in the last ten years. Curator Helena Juncosa describes them as "emotional landscapes, physical landscapes that show us mysterious worlds, intriguing and very colourful". They are not taken from photographs.
"They come from my imagination. It is my own way of processing culture, information and life in the 21st century," said the artist. Jules de Balincourt shows the world with a "psychological" focus, through the use of vibrant tones which move them away from what is real. Because the view of a town which is coloured fuscia, for example, stops being a mirror of reality and acquires another dimension.
Everything starts from the purest abstraction, from a stain on the wood which, bit by bit, with just his "intuition", starts to take shape with different images. "These works are like a road trip where we don't know where we are heading, an adventure in itself, an exploration," said Jules de Balincourt.
But on that trip there are concepts which are repeated and this dichotomy of meanings in his work becomes evident. Like caves where you're not sure if people are exploring or hiding; an island that could be a paradise or a reflection of isolation from society.
The artist was born in Paris and moved to California as a child, but he loves Costa Rica and spends as much time as he can there. He created many of the works in this exhibition while there during the pandemic last year.