carlier | gebauer

Hélène Delprat

Exhibitions at carlier | gebauer




Hélène Delprat
La Maison Rouge

by Caroline Bourgeois

Hélène Delprat's choice of title for her exhibition, borrowed from Frank Sinatra's famous hit, "I did it my way," clearly announces her theme: appropriation. This proud affirmation means, dared to follow my own intuition, rather than convention." The motto, rather than referring to an immediate action or a specific plan, evokes a path to adopt throughout one's life, setting the tone for this exhibition of Delprat's groundbreaking work.
Represented until 1995 by Galerie Maeght, Delprat achieved acclaim rather early in her career. Yet, while her work was being widely exhibited, she felt something was missing. She decided to withdraw from the art world to rediscover her penchant for discovery, embarking on a more reflective period, which she refers to as her 'hodgepodge' years. The exhibition shows her universe, a "mess that brings together meaning and utter nonsense in a structured manner... I don't deliberately seek to create ugly work; I want to overtake my own taste, which leads me more instinctively toward Velasquez or Poussin's work. But it isn't easy to make ugliness acceptable." To describe her work Delprat likes to use the image of an iceberg: until 1995, painting constituted the visible part of her artistic activity, while writing, film, radio, and theater remained submerged, invisible to her audience.
In 1995 a reversal took place, and for the next fifteen years the previously hidden parts of her activity became her main focus: she wrote for herself and for radio programs, created sets for theater productions, gave interviews, and produced her first films. After meeting gallerist Christophe Gaillard in 2010, she returned to painting.
Delprat has created at la maison rouge a surprising exhibition, in which each visitor can construct a narrative—or several. It is a setting within which anything can happen. She suggests here the wide range of her research into cinematic, literary, philosophical, art historical, and musical references, including her interest into what we might refer to as her "bad taste." With this exhibition at la maison rouge, she has created a rich, fun, playful experience, providing visitors with a unique moment of enjoyment.