Thursday, 10:52am
7 February 2013

Neighbourhood watch

Jean Jullien’s ‘Allo?’ opens tonight at Kemistry Gallery with a sideways look at the here and now

French graphic designer Jean Jullien opens his first solo exhibition at Kemistry Gallery in Shoreditch tonight (7 February 2013), writes Sarah Snaith.

The show entitled ‘Allo?’ will feature a series of pieces that are ‘trans-genre’ with a strong illustrative base and a lot of ‘type and word play’. The works consider contemporary communication, observing (in part) the way that people have adopted technology as an extension of the self. Jullien says: ‘It [technology] might be a physical tool, but it has more to do with your mind and the way you think.’

Jean Jullien, Fun People.
Top: Jean Jullien, LA Scene.

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He uses illustration to form a critical narrative with humorous undertones. ‘I’m not a very good storyteller, so I like the idea of taking a journalistic approach, recording the behaviours of peers and seeing if relevant points are being made. The exhibition has a loose theme with a few other graphic things to break the tension, ie. cats and dogs … things like that’, says Jullien. ‘Then again that’s quite relevant to new media, since cats are all over the internet.’

‘Jean Jullien: Allo?’ teaser.
Jullien works in moving image with electronic musician Niwouinwouin (his brother Nicolas) as Jullien Brothers.

‘My work is selling ideas as much as it could sell shampoo or communicate political ideas. Illustration is a tool.’ Jullien’s practice includes moving image, installation and photography, and while ‘Allo?’ features predominantly printed material, the designer promises a few surprises.

Jean Jullien, Never Alone.

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Jullien and his former Royal College of Art peers Yan and Gwendal Le Bec have a blog called News of the Times (started in 2012). The entries document current events through visual journalism such as Jullien’s Mariage pour tous, a response to the French National Assembly’s recent debates over legalising gay marriage – some of these timely illustrations may be part of the exhibition.

Jean Jullien, Allo?.

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‘Jean Jullien | Allo?’ opens at Kemistry Gallery, London on 7 February and continues until 23 March 2013.

Jullien will also be showing at Pick Me Up: Graphic Arts Festival at Somerset house 18 > 28 April 2013.

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