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DELPHINE LEBOURGEOIS | ‘La Ronde’
August 24th 2023
Forming a unifying circle as part of a dance, Delphine Lebourgeois unveils that the competitive nature amongst the dancers is never too far away. Hats decorated with knife-like teeth from dinosaurs, young women in tell-tale printed fabrics and female warriors armed with swords and rubber ducks, allows Lebourgeois to artistically delve into the complex human psychology and let the personality of her subjects shine through. Her diverse works cleverly present her findings in lively and colourful drawings that slowly resonate with the audience. La Ronde is the artist’s debut screenprint; a manually layered process that lies close to her original drawings on paper.
by Henrik Riis
PRINT EDITION RELEASE
It’s the way her braided fiery-red lock is pulled that unintendedly places the girl in the centre of attention in the circular dance. An instant malicious intent by the dancer to her right - or simply a reach-out for a hand gone awry - this otherwise display of harmony becomes anything but; changing the appearance of what at first glance is a happy event, to a group of individuals, reacting and positioning themselves within the crowd.

Lebourgeois has always teased her audience. Attracted to the flamboyant headgear, candy-coloured dresses or the skimpy lingerie of her alluring subjects, which are often women, the sharp-lined illustrative drawings only reveal themselves at close-up as it becomes clear that the story is the one beneath the surface. Perceptions and facial expressions of the subjects may the a starting point to the viewer, then guided by the accessories used as an adept accomplice to project feelings, thoughts and agendas. In her works, modern sexuality is portrayed as a dancing ‘Snow White’ in black stockings, her eyes closed while the animals of the forest gently finds rescue in her red flower-patterned knickers; and teenage girls in cartoon-imprinted dresses, arm themselves with toy-guns, aiming for and shooting down the heroes of their childhood in a rebellion against the tyranny of adults.
DELPHINE LEBOURGEOIS
La Ronde, 2015

Edition of 50
6 Artist Proof (APs)

88(w) x 70(h) cm
34.65(w) x 27.56(h) inches
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DELPHINE LEBOURGEOIS
La Ronde, 2015

Edition of 50
6 Artist Proof (APs)

88(w) x 70(h) cm
34.65(w) x 27.56(h) inches
ENQUIRY
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Delphine Lebourgeois (French, b. 1976)

La Ronde , 2015

88(w) x 70(h) cm
34.65(w) x 27.56(h) inches
9 colour screenprint on Somerset 410 gsm paper

Signed and numbered on front.
Edition of 50
PRICE
$ 660.00
MAKE AN OFFER
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Many of Lebourgeois’ recent works present solitaire figures shown in a moment of reflection as they try to negotiate the most inner emotions, while other works, such as La Ronde, takes a broader perspective. Here, Lebourgeois explores her fascination with the behaviour of groups as eleven women and two men holding hands in a circle as if dancing the ‘ring of roses’. The pulling of the hair of the girl becomes the central focus of the image, as each of the other characters are reacting to the aggressive gesture in a different way. Most seem to have noticed the incident. The girl immediately to the left either ignores it or oblivious, while the female next to her, in contrast, looks worried. Girls in the right part of the circle have various reactions; one looking surprised, one concerned and one slightly smiling as if she enjoys the action. Interestingly, the two male characters appear to be averting their eyes, either as if they are not aware or unsure what to do.

Watching the intrigues play out at Lebourgeois’ La Ronde inevitable brings to mind a masterpiece of the twentieth century, ‘La Danse’, by the French painter Henri Matisse. Commissioned by Matisse’s close friend, the Russian art collector Sergei Shchukin, the artist completed two large works for Shchukin titled ‘La Musique’ and ‘La Danse’ in 1910. ‘La Danse’ portrays a group of men and women dancing in a circle, almost floating above a green plane and against a blue backdrop; nude, joyful and stripped from the constraints of modern society.

While Matisse depicts a sense of paradisial innocence through the hovering imperfect, nude bodies, Lebourgeois’ expands the idea of the unifying ring and lets the viewer into the hearts and minds of the participants, whom project a sense of a well-intentioned activity to begin with. However, on noticing the hair-pulling in La Ronde it almost becomes about a menacing encirclement. Make no mistake. Behind the floral dresses of the girls in La Ronde, it covers up a primeval rivalry, suggested by the sharp dinosaur teeth on their hats. Similar in composition - and undeniably an inspiration to La Ronde - Matisse’s naivety in ‘La Danse’ does not convince Lebourgeois, who sees the world through a different lens, making La Ronde a convincing and cynical depiction of relationships in a modern-day exposé.

The exploration of group psychology in the context of the formation of leaders and followers - even intrasexual competition - is a topic Lebourgeois has focused on in other works and a subject each and every viewer is likely to have experienced.

Working in a brand new medium of printing, La Ronde is the first screenprint edition created by Delphine Lebourgeois and was released exclusively by Eyestorm in 2015; a collaboration which progressed with the print edition Bang Bang Girls, launched the following year. In an edition of 50, La Ronde is manually printed using 9 layers of ink in a colour palette of cardinal reds, pale cyan and shady blues. The print is signed and numbered on front.

To view the print edition in further detail and to find more information about available works by Delphine Lebourgeois, visit the artist’s page here.
 
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