Héloïse Delègue and Millennial Pink
One to Watch artist Héloïse Delègue’s layered, abstract works enchant viewers to look beyond the most relatable subject within her work. Instead she suggests they extract elements by viewing her works from different angles; upon closer examination, there are narratives examining gender, identity, and modern forms of communication. We interviewed Héloïse to describe her process and the prevalence of what is colloquially referred to as “Millennial Pink” in her works.
The ideas I constantly explore in my works question human inter-relationships, hierarchies within genders, and intimacy. Using memories, mythology, and factual truths, I am trying to comment on current societal, cultural and political narratives. Lately I have been observing networks of people around me in displacement—I have particularly interest in new forms of relationships in a context where belief systems and values seem to be disrupted, conflicted, and challenged by new forms of digital communications such as Tinder.
By creating odd juxtapositions of materials, textiles and paint, I want to awkwardly invite the viewer to question sexuality and the current notion of femininity and masculinity. I have also been quite obsessed with today‘s compulsory swiping activity. Our swiping fingers are silent, yet transmit so much underlying meaning. I am exploring that theme and thinking about how to integrate that gesture into the painting process. How are our bodies are affected by new technologies? Should we inquire about a need to reconnect with our own physicality?
Painting & Process
I first started painting because it was the best medium for me to explore chaos, the complexity of human behavior, and identifying specific narratives. Through the various successive layers of paint, I could see things happen and built stories through the combination of a careful plan and an automatic gesture. However, the more my practice changes, the more I am drawn to building paintings with various materials including textiles, metal, stitches, and more.
Since I started the MFA program at Goldsmiths in London, my process has continued to evolve. The way I used to make art is constantly challenged, so it’s quite difficult to explain how I process things these days. I work with sketchbooks, notes, words and iPad drawings. I navigate an idea, start working onto something and see where it takes me. The time I spend on a piece varies from a day to a couple of weeks. There are no set rules. When is a piece finished? This is when intuition comes in. I can’t explain it, but I kind of know when it is, and want to move on to the next piece.
“There is something quite seductive and charming about this color…for me, the soft pink acts as a first hook, which then brings you hopefully into a more cynical and grotesque place.”
There is something quite seductive and charming about this color. It traditionally refers to a very “girly fleshy” feel, perhaps a washed-off white skin. I’m drawn to it because I see so many possibilities in shifting this color into something else. Pastels are usually perceived as quite romantic and softly invite the viewer into a cocoon type of atmosphere. So, for me, the soft pink acts as a first hook, which then brings you hopefully into a more cynical and grotesque place.
It may sound strange, but the best piece of advice I received this year was to stop painting. It was pretty abrupt at first, but it helped me understand what painting meant to me, and how I could actually push this medium further with all sorts of materials I was already drawn to, especially textiles.