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b. 1969, United Kingdom

Chantal Joffe Biography

At the core of Chantal Joffe's painting practice is an investigation into the human experience, tracing the transitional moments, such as child-rearing and ageing, and the consequential hopes and anxieties that constitute life. Usually depicting women and children, as well as herself, Joffe delves into the mechanics of representing beauty and the female form in both public and private spaces.

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Joffe graduated with an MA from London's Royal College of Art in 1994 and began to garner attention for small-scale paintings based on pornography. In an article for the Guardian in 2009, the artist reflected on her interest in painting nudes as offering the featured women new life, writing that 'I saw my paintings as resurrecting them.' Joffe's use of broad slabs of paint, which dry to an almost sculptural quality, and the expressiveness of her work continued into her later oeuvre.

Following the birth of her daughter Esme in 2004, motherhood has been a primary subject for Joffe. In Self-Portrait Pregnant II (2004), Joffe poses in mismatched underwear with confidence and ease, while in Self Portrait with Esme (2008) she contrasts her body with that of young and growing Esme. Her solo exhibition For Esme—With Love and Squalor at Arnolfini, Bristol, in 2020 brought together a group of works that provided intimate and uncontrived depictions of childhood and maternity.

For Esme also included 'Pictures of What I Did Not See' (2019): a series of oil stick paintings Joffe made while recovering from a collapse of which she had no memory. Esme looked after Joffe during her recuperation—a reversal of the standard parent-child relationship that perhaps inspired the artist to portray her daughter as a towering figure in Esme at Sixteen (2020). Esme's black blouse against the painting's white background gives her body a solidity as a robust and mature teenager.

Adolescence is, however, also contradictory and fraught with self-consciousness. Joffe explored these themes in Teenagers at Lehmann Maupin, Seoul, in 2020. Her first solo exhibition with the gallery as well as her first solo presentation in Seoul, Teenagers saw the artist present new works that unveil the emotional peaks and valleys of growing up, featuring Esme and her friends.

Expanding her career-long engagement with self-portraiture as a mode through which she documents her thoughts, Joffe painted herself every day of 2018. In various scales, the self-portraits capture different emotions and subtleties of daily life. Night Self-Portrait I, March depicts the artist against a black background, while Self-Portrait II, August focuses on her face, a bright green hue to her skin. Joffe exhibited a selection of the self-portraits in her 2019 solo exhibition at Victoria Miro Mayfair, London.

Chantal Joffe Solo Exhibitions Include:

Lucie and Daryll: Chantal Joffe Looking at Lucian Freud, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2020); Teenagers, Lehmann Maupin, Seoul (2020); Personal Feeling Is the Main Thing, The Lowry, Salford (2018); Chantal Joffe, Cheim & Read, New York (2017); Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings: Chantal Joffe, curated by Jens Hoffmann, The Jewish Museum, New York (2015).

Chantal Joffe Group Exhibitions Include:

Portraying Pregnancy: From Holbein to Social Media, The Foundling Museum, London (2020); In Her Hands, Skarstedt, New York (2020); Cut and Paste: 400 Years of Collage, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2019); Art Capital: Art for the Elizabeth Line, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2018); Friendship Portraits: Chantal Joffe and Ishbel Myerscough, National Portrait Gallery, London (2015).

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2020

Exhibition view: Chantal Joffe, Story, Wharf Road, London (4 June–31 July 2021). © Chantal Joffe. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro. 

Chantal Joffe Featured Artworks

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My Mother in her Doorway by Chantal Joffe contemporary artwork
Chantal JoffeMy Mother in her Doorway, 2020Oil on board
60.8 x 45.6 cm
Victoria Miro Enquire
First Baby by Chantal Joffe contemporary artwork
Chantal JoffeFirst Baby, 2020Oil on board
50.7 x 40.5 cm
Victoria Miro Enquire
Carlotta and Esme by Chantal Joffe contemporary artwork
Chantal JoffeCarlotta and Esme, 2020Oil on board
50.8 x 40.5 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Carlotta and Esme (sleepover) by Chantal Joffe contemporary artwork
Chantal JoffeCarlotta and Esme (sleepover), 2020Oil on canvas
50 x 40 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
MAN IN A RIVER by Chantal Joffe contemporary artwork
Chantal JoffeMAN IN A RIVER, 2016Oil on board
50.2 x 40 cm
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
Bella in Yellow by Chantal Joffe contemporary artwork
Chantal JoffeBella in Yellow, 2016Oil on board
24.38 x 18.12 x 0.75 inches
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
Night Self-Portrait In A Red Dress by Chantal Joffe contemporary artwork
Chantal JoffeNight Self-Portrait In A Red Dress, 2014Oil on board
213 x 153 x 6 cm
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
Esme in St Leonards by Chantal Joffe contemporary artwork
Chantal JoffeEsme in St Leonards, 2015Pastel on paper board
30 x 40 cm
Victoria Miro Enquire

Chantal Joffe Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Chantal Joffe, Story at Victoria Miro, Wharf Road, London
Open Now
4 June–31 July 2021 Chantal Joffe Story Victoria MiroWharf Road, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Chantal Joffe, Chantal Joffe: Naked at Victoria Miro, Online Only, London
Closed
17 November–18 December 2020 Chantal Joffe Chantal Joffe: Naked Victoria MiroOnline Only
Contemporary art exhibition, Chantal Joffe, Teenagers at Lehmann Maupin, Seoul
Closed
12 November 2020–29 January 2021 Chantal Joffe Teenagers Lehmann MaupinSeoul

Chantal Joffe Represented By

Cheim & Read contemporary art gallery in New York, USA Cheim & Read New York
Victoria Miro contemporary art gallery in Wharf Road, London, United Kingdom Victoria Miro London, Venice

Chantal Joffe In Ocula Magazine

David Shrigley, Wolfgang Tillmans and More Offer Affordable Art to Combat COVID-19 Ocula News David Shrigley, Wolfgang Tillmans and More Offer Affordable Art to Combat COVID-19 Hong Kong, 29 May 2020

Sales of works on paper and illustrated face masks will support charities and struggling art institutions.

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Chantal Joffe In Related Press

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Mother Figure: Gemma Blackshaw on Chantal Joffe Related Press Mother Figure: Gemma Blackshaw on Chantal Joffe 19 May 2018, Elephant

Sunday 11 March I woke for the first time this morning at a little after three. My daughter, who has started to sleep alone, had called out for me, and then for water. I held the cup in one hand, the back of her head in the other, leaning over her kneeling body, murmuring something. She drank deeply and then fell forwards on to the pillow, eyes...

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'Painting is a high-wire act': Olivia Laing on sitting for the artist Chantal Joffe Related Press 'Painting is a high-wire act': Olivia Laing on sitting for the artist Chantal Joffe 12 May 2018, The Guardian

Every time I go to Chantal’s studio we eat cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery, get hopped up on sugar and talk very fast. We met because she read my book The Lonely City and asked if I’d come and sit for her. I feel like we made friends as soon as I walked through the door. She says she’s shy, but she’s one of the most open, engrossing talkers I...

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Now Jonathan Yeo is using Virtual Reality to make art Related Press Now Jonathan Yeo is using Virtual Reality to make art 11 December 2017, GQ

In celebration of its 250 th birthday, London's Royal Academy Of Arts explores the historic practice of life drawing in a revolutionary way. Beginning with the Academy's 18 th -century origins, From Life continues to the present and, most intriguingly, moves into the future. Historical paintings hang alongside works by Cai Guo-Qiang, Jenny...

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Jenny Holzer & Mapplethorpe works go on show in a hospital Related Press Jenny Holzer & Mapplethorpe works go on show in a hospital 17 October 2016, Dazed Digital

An immersive, site-specific exhibition titled Human Condition is currently taking up residency at a former hospital in West Adams, Los Angeles – once known as Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center. Opening in 1971, it was the first Black-owned hospital in the California city, running until the neighbourhood’s decline and revelations...

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