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DELPHINE LEBOURGEOIS | 'La Ronde'
February 22nd 2015
‘La Ronde’ is our debut screenprint edition with London-based French artist Delphine Lebourgeois, which sees her working in a brand new medium of printing for the first time. Angie talks about the making of the piece and Delphine’s ideas behind the work below.

It’s always a pleasure to work with an artist on a new screenprint edition when the process is a new one to them, and being around Delphine Lebourgeois as she created her beautiful new edition La Ronde was no exception.

Delphine has created numerous limited editions of her illustrations in the past, but these have always been Giclee prints, which are printed digitally from a digital file. If you’re familiar with the screenprinting process you’ll know this is a completely different ball game altogether, with the artist creating each layer separately onto acetate sheets known as true grains, which are then each transformed into individual ‘screens’. Ink is pulled through each screen onto the paper, one on top of the other to create separate layers, which ultimately make up the final image. Many artists, such as Delphine, who are also painters or illustrators, pick up this technique fairly easily due to the fact that they’re used to layering, but it is still a learning process due to the different materials used as well as the fact that each layer is often created in black ink on the true grains; for an artist who normally works in fairly vibrant colours this can be a little difficult to get used to in the beginning.

Delphine was very excited about making a real screenprint from scratch and afterwards told me how much she’d enjoyed being at Jealous and working with Danny, Matthew and the team there (which isn’t unusual as they’re a very welcoming bunch) . We had a couple of initial meetings with Matthew as he explained how everything worked, and then when we came back to work on the proof after Delphine had created the true grains in her studio, it was printer Danny who took the reins.

Due to the fact that Delphine’s image had some very fine detail, Danny wanted to get a guideline of the main sketch down first so we could see each layer that was added was in the correct place. So after this came the two flesh colours, followed by three blues, a darker turquoise, the red and then finishing with a charcoal colour (for facial hair and to get the ‘line’ right), and then finally the black for the helmets.

In terms of the concept behind the image, La Ronde (meaning ‘ring of people’ in French) sees Delphine continue to explore her fascination with the behavior of groups as eleven women and two men - male figures being a somewhat recent introduction for the artist whose work has previously only featured females - holding hands in a circle as if dancing the ‘ring of roses’. Something that’s not instantly noticeable however is the fact that the figure at the bottom centre of the ring is having her hair pulled by the girl to her right. For Delphine, this action is the central focus of the image, as each of the other characters is reacting to the aggressive gesture in a different way. Most seem to have noticed the incident. The girl immediately to the victim’s left seems to either be ignoring it or oblivious, while the one next to her, in contrast, looks worried and concerned. The girls to the right of the attacker also have varying reactions, with one looking surprised, one concerned and one slightly smiling as if she agrees with what the bully is doing. Interestingly the two male characters appear to be averting their eyes, either as if they’re not aware or are unsure what to do.

The formation of the group in its unifying circle suggests harmony and togetherness, protection and celebration, but on noticing the hair-pulling it almost becomes about a menacing encirclement that’s predatory and coveting. This exploration of group psychology in the context of bullying and the formation of leaders and followers is something Delphine has focused on in other works and a subject that each and every one of us is likely to have experienced at some point in their lives, and although commonly associated with playground behavior, does continue into adult life more often than we may expect.

Delphine very much enjoys producing works that have an underlying meaning and are not about what you initially expect. With its uplifting colour palette of breezy blues and joyful reds, it’s easy to think this piece is all sweetness and light, but on closer inspection there’s a story to tell, and an interesting revelation about human behaviour.

La Ronde is a 9-colour screenprint in an edition of 50 and is available to buy online from today at £360.00 It will be making its debut at AAF Battersea in London from 11 - 15. March.

See it in more detail here.
ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
DELPHINE LEBOURGEOIS
 
 
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