PASTEL MELANCHOLIA

In the atmospheres of Jimmy Beauquesne’s artworks, there reside fantasies of the natural world, celebrities, and entities beyond language or reason. Let the French artist’s words and images in today’s interview mesmerize you into a dreamy sense of longing.

How would you describe your process of creating your artworks?

I would say I can identify two dynamics in my creative process. One is driven by collaborative projects, it is experimental and scattered. The other one is drawing, its nature is melancholic and masturbatory. The back and forth between those two spaces is vital to me, it keeps my desire breathing. The past year, I have been writing a TV show, organizing tarot workshops, stalking Justin Bieber, creating music, building an art collective dedicated to Kim Petras (KimPetrasPaintings)… but at the same time, I have a solitary nature. Drawing is a space of silence for me.

Your style is quite unique and it gives me some sort of melancholic feeling from the dreamy, melancholic atmospheres. What is the main storyline or mood you want to express with your artworks and how can we enter and understand what is behind your drawings? 

Drawing is linked to my teenage years. I used to draw a lot of naked men and FanArt of my favorite pop stars. I think it was a way to access things that somehow seemed unreachable. I have not stopped ever since. I guess the melancholia you see is a result of the painful, impassable distance I feel between me and my fantasies. 

I tell myself stories all the time, but I don’t know if there is something to understand behind my work, I can only hope its vulnerability can make room for some people.

Are there any particular relationships coming from real life or dreams between the human-animal or human-human in your artworks? If yes, can you tell us some more details?

My apartment once had a rat invasion but I couldn’t find anything except glue traps to get rid of them. One night, I heard small noises in my kitchen. It was a rat with its back paws stuck, trying to escape the glue. I was left with a choice: killing it to stop its suffering, or throwing it in the trash. I was a coward and left it in the trash. It still haunts me. I did a drawing of this… Strangely, I feel like animals in my drawings are somehow witnesses of human despair, a last gaze of compassion before death.

How would you describe your drawing style, who or what is your biggest inspiration? And how does your style develop over time?

Realism is important to me because it gives me the impression of being close to my subjects but still… There is an oddness, something missing, by the fact I learned from fanart and not from academic technique. I am very bad at listing my inspirations. Also, the Instagram algorithm would say Victorian Painters like Lawrence Alma-Tadema, digital artists like dian__liang, aw.anqi, singers like Mylène Farmer, OKlou, Justin Bieber…

I have no idea how my style is developing, all I do is try my best.

Are you currently preparing any exhibitions or projects we can look forward to?

I am currently preparing a duo show at 22,48m2 gallery in Paris, with my friend and amazing artist Camille Juthier, it will happen on the 14th of may. I am also very excited to have my first solo show at Fragment Gallery in New York next year =)

Within the framework of our current theme “Who Let the Dogs Out”, what animal would you like to have as a lifetime companion (could be realistic or fantastic)?

I would love to have a conversation with Kyubey, the creature from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. I have always pictured aliens’ political and ethical views to be very close to Kyubey’s. But I would not spend the rest of my life with it.

Even though I find most Pokémon masters to be very speciest, I would love to be friends with a Sylveon. Maybe we could develop a horizontal connection, based on creation, poetry and friendship.

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Bio

Jimmy Beauquesne is a French artist, born in 1991, based in Paris.

Encompassing sculpture, installation and performance, Jimmy Beauquesne’s practice centers on a reconsideration of the limits of drawing in the post-Internet era. The artist employs the medium of drawing as a nostalgic, melancholic and also recuperative act. Often borrowing figures from celebrity culture, Beauquesne’s images re-contextualize their subjects within a strange and fantastic landscape—while also commenting on the mechanism of the screen.

Group exhibitions that have shown Beauquesne’s work have taken place at: the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France (2019); 22.48m2 in Paris, France (2021); Fragment Gallery in Moscow, Russia (2020); the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Saint-Etienne, France (2020); Magasins généraux in Pantin, France (2019); and Triangle Arts in New York City (2020); among others.

Credits

Artworks / Jimmy Beauquesne @jimmybqsn

Interview / Markéta Kosinová

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