Jules de Balincourt: They Cast Long Shadows at Victoria Miro, Mayfair

‘They Cast Long Shadows’ by Jules de Balincourt, a French born artist currently living and working in Brooklyn, is a stunning force of abstract, atmospheric paintings, currently showing at Victoria Miro’s Mayfair gallery.

‘They Cast Long Shadows’ is a series of new, quiet and mysterious paintings that delve into De Balincourt’s own psychological landscape, displaying how he sees the world on canvas, giving viewers a glimpse into the weird and wonderful mind of this magnificent artist.

‘Repeated Histories’ shows a large orange skinned figure, with a mop of blond hair shaking his finger at a group of people of colour, seemingly scolding them or ordering them about, while his fellow peers follow suit and copy his actions. Viewers may find that the figure is a comedic portrayal of the current United States president, Donald Trump, as he continuously appears to attempt to isolate immigrants and/or people of races other than his own. The painting’s title could also second this notion as ‘Repeated Histories’ coupled alongside the work could reference when racial segregation was a huge problem in America until the 1960’s, hinting that what Donald Trump is doing is very similar to segregation, even if it is only de jure.

‘If Trees Spoke and We Listened’ shows a striking image of a forest in bright, saturated colours, that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. The painting shows groups of people walking through the forest while the trees stretch up and become giant people towing above everyone else. This could represent Mother Nature, as the centre figure is a woman, or simply mean that as nature is all alive we as just guests on the planet, that is in fact only inhabitable thanks to trees and plant life, should listen more to what the Earth needs, and to pay the Earth, the beautiful Earth, a little bit more attention.

‘They Were All Seeking The Same Thing’ is a calming piece of art. It is quiet and reflective, offering viewers the same gorgeous view as the people in the painting have. It largely consists of blue shades and tones, showing the sea lit up by the glistening, milky light of the moon in the heavy night sky. In the water, there are people in small boats, while others swim, and others stand on the shore admiring the view. Land can be seen across the water, with tiny lights glowing like stars in the distance. What ‘they’ were all seeking is not entirely made clear to viewers, maybe it was the island in ‘Island People’, one can only assume however, that it was something delightful.

Viewers will notice that the figures in De Balincourt’s paintings are all of various skin tones, and include same-sex couples, displaying a clear acceptance and appreciation of diversity of all people in his paintings.

‘They Cast Long Shadows’ is a fantastical compilation of works that show natural scenes that have been encroached upon by human activity; political events; nocturnal landscapes; groups of people seeking refuge; towering monsters and glowing caves. ‘They Cast Long Shadows’ is a distorted, dreamlike world that contains a hypnotically beautiful yet eerie atmosphere.


‘They Cast Long Shadows’ is on at Victoria Miro Mayfair until 24th March.  More information may be found here.