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Jean Jullien's "US"

The French illustrator's latest work, from the humorous to the sinister, on view at London's Kemistry Gallery

by Cajsa Carlson
on 11 December 2014
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French-born, London-based illustrator and Cool Hunting favorite, Jean Jullien has returned to London’s Kemistry Gallery with new exhibition “US.” Like much of Jullien’s work, the title itself is humorous and has a double meaning, seemingly referring to both the United States (some of the work was produced while the artist was living in New York) and to us—his subjects, his viewers. Jullien excels at finding the absurd and amusing in everyday life, and there are plenty of examples on show in "US"—the couple that browses the internet, together but separate in their Airbnb flat in front of Netflix; or the man photographing his food with a gigantic SLR camera.

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“It’s about the small changes we go through together, capturing the funny moments we often miss or take for granted,” Jullien says. But it’s not all humorous; an undertone of seriousness creeps in, like in the illustration of a black man—handcuffed on the ground—who looks on while a white hand draws a chalk outline around his body.

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The work is immediately striking and recognizable, with Jullien’s signature black outlines giving the colorful illustrations a sharp, graphic appeal. And though Kemistry Gallery is small (just the one room) there’s more than enough space to convince the viewer of Jullien’s brilliance as an illustrator. This is also the last chance to visit Kemistry in its current location before the gallery moves.

“US” is on now through January 2015 at Kemistry Gallery, 43 Charlotte Road Shoreditch, London.

Images by Cajsa Carlson

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