Jean Jullien launches four-part exhibition across Tokyo

As well as paintings, drawings and sculptures on display, the first chapter of a graphic novel by the artist will also be exhibited for the first time

Illustrator and artist Jean Jullien has launched a four-part exhibition curated by Tokyo-based gallery Nanzuka. The umbrella title for the project is Pépé, and the shows will appear across the Japanese capital at Parco Museum Tokyo, Nanzuka 2G, 3110NZ and Gallery Target.

Paper People at Parco Museum is an installation-based show, alongside paintings and drawings, which sees Jullien reimagined as a thin, paper figure engaging in a variety of activities such as drawing and hugging. Taking inspiration from Japanese comics, the works on display are witty and light-hearted, but also serve as a reminder of the beauty of everyday life. 

Top and above: Paper People installation view, Parco Museum Tokyo. All images: © Jean Jullien, courtesy of Nanzuka


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jean Jullien (@jean_jullien)

Alongside the lifesize paper people, the paintings on show range from portraits to landscapes and still lifes of toys, objects and animals – essentially anything the artist has found interesting.

It’s the first narrative show Jullien has done, and tells the story of an idea abandoned by its creator. When the idea comes alive, it is sad and lonely so proceeds to draw a partner in paper form. 

Paper People installation view, Parco Museum Tokyo
Paper People installation view, Parco Museum Tokyo

Over at Nanzuka 2G is Pocket Parents, where Jullien draws upon his own experiences as a father of two young children, portraying themes of parenting, age, and responsibility. The exhibition takes the form of a graphic novel magnified as comic book-style pages are plastered on every wall, immersing the viewer in black and white drawings. The comic features ‘pocket-sized’ parents and the protagonists’ friends, and it’s the first chapter of a full graphic novel Jullien is set to publish. 

For Petite Pêche at 3110NZ, Jullien has collaborated with his younger brother Nicolas Jullien. The space is both a sushi restaurant and gallery, so the pair were inspired by the environment and have created a series of works based on themes around the sea and nature. 

Pocket Parents installation view, Nanzuka 2G
Pocket Parents installation view, Nanzuka 2G

For the last show, titled Drawn at Gallery Target, the works on display were conceived over the past year during the pandemic, and the space will feature 14 new pieces. The show captures an array of everyday activities from a detached, almost voyeuristic point of view.

The four-part exhibition project has been a mammoth undertaking, and Jullien has created over 60 works for the project. Working with Nanzuka, the different shows allow viewers to peek into different areas of his practice in each space.

Painting from Drawn, Gallery Target
Painting from Drawn, Gallery Target

Paper People at Parco Museum and Pocket Parents at Nanzuka 2G are on until October 3; Drawn at Gallery Target is on until October 9; Petite Pêche at 3110NZ is on until October 23;