So thrilled to share the gorgeous work of current Goldsmiths College MFA student Héloïse Delègue today, whose paintings explore themes of memory, autoiography, and the human sense of being in the world and interacting with one another. I was immediately drawn to her palette, which often utilizes shades of pink, teal, and yellow. And at first glance, in their detail, these paintings appear like tableaus of daily life, until one takes a moment to try to piece together the scene and finds that the space becomes less certain. There are suggestions of figures and movement, and perhaps objects that feel slightly familiar in some way, like we should be able to recognize them, but perspectives shift, distance is right in front of us, and objects don’t ‘behave’ like we expect, so that she pulls us out of our current reality and into parallel and rather surreal landscape.
I asked the artist a bit about her practice, and as she’s just getting started in the MFA program this year, there are a lot of ideas churning!
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YS: I’m interested in you exploration of memory, and autobiography, or identity. Is this something you’ve been interested in for a while in your work, or have you been focusing on it more recently?
HD: I think that my paintings and my 3Dimensional works have more or less always been partly autobiographical. I have always been using my immediate surroundings as a starting point for making works. Facing up the challenges of my own relationships, and through the making and breaking of bonds, I continually try to dissect, and perform post-mortems of human relationships in order for me to comprehend them. Finishing a piece and standing back to view it, I often see elements of microbiology, anatomy, symbols and human physiology interplaying with human forms entangled and emerging from the canvas
Extending beyond myself, the purely autobiographical, I am also interested in how we, by which I mean human kind, interact socially with each other, and within the societal environments we inhabit. A single figure in a room is solitary, but add two, three, four figures in a room, and social, cultural, political, psychological, and physical intercourse, provide endless creative possibilities!
Who or what are some of your major influences?
There are so many artists that I love! Lately I have been really fascinated by the work of David Altmejd. I adore his use of textiles threads and sculptures in his delicate monumental pieces. I also really love the works of El Anatsui. So, these days, I can feel a sort of shift by being influenced more by artists who make 3 Dimensional works rather than paintings.
What is your process like? ie. How do you get started on a piece? Do you work spontaneously or do you set out a plan beforehand? Do you work entirely from your imagination or do you find source materials?
I tend to work both form imagination and from sourced materials, typically pictures that I have taken or sourced from social media. It can also be objects that I recuperated and modified which I will then reincorporate in my paintings. It could be a textile pattern that I like which I will then paint. The starting point of a painting is always spontaneous. I just need to start, and see where it takes me. It is a constant process of finding and losing myself within the work. When I set out a plan beforehand, I usually never really stick to the plan and it always fails…but then eventually, I use those failures and try to shift them into something that works. I am not a planner in my life and not so much either when It comes to creating.
What is your studio atmosphere like? Do you have any rituals/routines/music/inspiration that gets you going every day?
My studio is now at Goldsmiths in London. It has been pretty challenging so far to accommodate the space and finding where I could feel comfortable creating but it turned out very well!
My studio is usually a composition of works in progress that are lying around everywhere. There are some old pieces of installations hanging from the window, always a couple of paintings that are work in progress stapled onto the walls. There are also some study works and things that I have found. At the moment there are a lot of different textiles with various patterns and colours. It is messy.
My main routine is that I go to my studio almost every day. Even, if it´s for a few hours and that I don’t make stuff. It´s important for me to be there, move things around, look at the materials, process things.
What are you most excited about doing once you complete your MFA?
Oh, I don’t know yet. That s too far ahead for me to think of! As long as I can keep on creating and making, I feel good.
What do you feel that you need most, or is the most valuable, as an artist?
Time and space! But also, being able to be completely on my own. It s the only way I can manage to pull things from within me.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects I can share?
I am going to have a solo exhibition at Booster Gallery in Oslo next year. There is also going to be 2 shows at Goldsmiths in early 2017.
Check out more of Delegue’s work and find more information at heloisedelegue.com.
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