The Wick - Jules de Balincourt
Solitary Cowboys, 2020
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Dream Jules de Balincourt

Paris-born Jules de Balincourt is inextricably linked with California. He moved there in the Eighties with his family and has mined its storied landscape ever since. Executed in 2020, Solitary Cowboy invites us on a nocturnal journey to the wild west. His paintings — ‘a dreamy confluence between fantasy and reality' — are a riot of saturated colour.

But trouble often lurks beneath his candy-coloured surfaces. Look closely and you’ll see barbed references to social, political and cultural issues, from structures of power to racism and homelessness. Feeling uneasy? Good. ‘That’s the reality of our world. It’s a fragile, unsettling place,’ he’s said.
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The Wick - Laid Table with View of Saint-Paul de Vance, 1969

Discover Marc Chagall

With an instinct for light to rival Renoir, and use of colour to echo Matisse, Marc Chagall is a true modern master. A Russian-French artist of Belasurian Jewish origin – with time spent in both Germany and the US – his oeuvre reflects all the finest qualities and influences of twentieth-century art.

No surprise that Chagall too was inspired by the sparkling vistas of the south of France, bringing to life the magic of Saint-Paul-de-Vence where he settled in his later life. The painting, containing elements of his Primitive style, captures that dreamy vibrance for which Chagall is celebrated.
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The Wick - Three Point Bend, Derek Fordjour, 2019

Discover Derek Fordjour

The New York-based artist made global headlines in 2018 with Half Mast, a mural commissioned by the Whitney Museum that addresses America’s reckoning with mass shootings. Since then, his career has been on a meteoric rise.

His works, typically patchworked from humble materials such as newspaper and charcoal, grapple with themes of race, inequality, and aspiration in American society. Electric colour and repetition are signature elements.

He also looks at the culture of sport in his explorations of the collective. In Three Point Bend, three figures in identical costumes fold nimbly into backbends. ‘I have a conceptual interest in patterns: how they persist, how they are disrupted, what is fixed and what is shifting,’ the artist has said.
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The Wick - The Chicken Thief, Michael Armitage, 2019

Discover Michael Armitage

From art fairs to auction rooms, the Nairobi-born, London-based painter Michael Armitage has garnered a lot of attention lately. Now he’s the star of a new Royal Academy exhibition, which brings together 15 of his large-scale paintings from the past six years.

Among the highlights is The Chicken Thief, one of eight paintings inspired by his own experience at an opposition party rally in Nairobi in 2017. Painted on lubugo bark cloth in Armitage’s distinctive florid palette, it depicts the titular thief fleeing arrest — or perhaps he’s trying to escape from the demonic monkey clawing his back.
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The Wick - The Future, You Might Not Like it Now... But You Will, Harland Miller, 2017

Discover Harland Miller

Harland Miller is celebrated for his investigations into the relationship between text, form and colour. He rose to prominence in the late 1990s with his Penguin series — the book’s fictitious titles were described as ‘wittily deadpan’ by the acclaimed novelist Michael Bracewell — and has continued on an upward trajectory since.

In 2017 he created a new series of paintings inspired by his archive of psychology and science books from the 1960s and ‘70s. The Future, You Might Not Like It Now But You Will features a three-dimensional graphic against a faded background. Like the design, the title can be read in myriad ways. What does it mean to you?
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The Wick - Lilicoptère, Joana Vasconcelos, 2012

Discover Joana Vasconcelos

Think of the Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos and that tampon chandelier springs to mind. But she has created other dazzling works too, among them Lilicoptère, a gilded helicopter embellished with thousands of rhinestones and pink ostrich feathers. Exhibited at the Palace of Versailles in 2012, it recalls the opulent — dare we say outlandish — aesthetic of the Ancien Régime.

Unsurprisingly, the artist’s flamboyant, large-scale sculptures made out of everyday objects such as telephones and saucepans have scored her global recognition and solo exhibitions across Europe. When guidelines allow, she’ll unveil her new Wedding Cake installation at Waddesdon Manor. Watch this space.
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The Wick - Combing the Hair (Côte d'Azur), Cecily Brown, 2013

Discover Cecily Brown

In the early 1990s conceptual art was at the height of fashion in London. Ignoring the prevailing taste, Brown instead painted sensual — erotic — subject matter, fragmenting the human body in unsettling ways. But she regards her practice as distinctly feminist. ‘I’ve always wondered, what is so masculine about abstraction? How did men get the ownership of this?’

Combing the Hair depicts a sunny beach in the south of France: scantily-clad bodies, fragmented genitalia, the titular comb swirl in blurs of visceral pinks and reds. It is a celebration of unadulterated carnality.
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The Wick - The Words Beneath Words, Idris Khan, 2019

Discover Idris Khan

Idris Khan creates sculpture, painting and photography that investigates memory, ritual and the layering of experience. He shot to fame in 2004 after he scanned every page of the Qur’an, then digitally layered the images.

Repetition is key to Khan’s meditative process. To make this striking work Khan stamped dense layers of text onto a glass pane using woodblocks coated with oil-based ink.

Superimposed on one other, the words become illegible. Their semantic meaning is lost. But in the process new truths are revealed: text becomes image. Open to interpretation, engages your close and questioning attention.
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The Wick - Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940

Discover Frida Kahlo

‘I paint myself,’ Kahlo once said, ‘because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.’ Of her 143 surviving paintings, 55 are self-portraits. Many of these speak of her physical and emotional suffering, the fragility of the human body, life and death.

Painted in 1940, this small but arresting painting shows Kahlo’s pain: her skin bleeds from the thorn necklace, her expression is solemn, the hummingbird is black and lifeless.

By employing symbolism and iconography from indigenous Mexican culture, Kahlo pioneered a new language of loss and pain and reframed self-portraiture for good.
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