Jim Shaw, Strange Beautiful

12 Sep 2019 – 2 Nov 2019

Regular hours

11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00

Praz-Delavallade - Paris

Paris, France


Travel Information

  • M11 - Rambuteau

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For his 10th exhibition with the gallery, Jim Shaw presents a selection of new works. Deeply erudite but also anti-authoritarian, produced out of a masterly process of improvisation, Jim Shaw’s paintings continue to incarnate, 40 years on, a uniquely strange beauty.


Uncle Sam, sickened by Gremlins from the Kremin. Checkers, Richard
Nixon’s dog. Brett Kavanaugh, a judge accused of rape, appointed to
the Supreme Court by Donald Trump. Mark Zuckerberg, one of the
fastest growing magnates of the world. Jim Shaw’s recent paintings are
swarming with grotesque and nefarious figures evoking contemporary
American history. Yet, even if these works drip with a sharp satirical
intent, we are not dealing with a form of political art such as Agitprop.
Jim Shaw’s historical models are more distinctively anachronistic,
closer to History painting as it was practiced at the end of the nineteenth
century. History painting brought together allegorical images with
discursive tools stemming from a critical rationalist tradition. An even
older reference of Shaw’s is Hieronymus Bosch, whose hermetic and
nightmarish visions remain today, half a millennium after their creation,
the subject of many contradictory interpretations.

Jim Shaw’s images are aggregates of heterogeneous sources,
moments of personal histories and fragments of collective cultural
history. While some works seem to be the product of hallucinations,
shaped by dream logic, they remain foreign to the heritage of European
Surrealism. There is no intent to unveil the inner states of the soul or
psyche. Dreams are treated above all as a kind of associative machine,
capable of articulating in a single pictorial space, vernacular narratives
that up until then were seen as antithetical. While Shaw’s non-artistic
references remain unknown to a large number of contemporary art
viewers, they nonetheless belong to a field that by definition is open
to all: popular culture.

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