‘Joie de vivre’ by Erika Peucelle


This summer, we had Erika Peucelle as our artist-in-residence (b. 2000, Zagreb, Croatia) at the gallery. It will be her first solo show after graduating from her studies at KABK in 2023 at the Royal Academy of Art, in The Hague.

Peucelle's themes move around the nuances of private and public gatherings, intimacy and boredom. “I use abstraction often to nudge the viewer into a state of contemplation” she states. She adapts her process and way of working to that of the content-saturated – overstimulated Instagram generation. Translating endless scrolls through fast, rough, and sketchy manners of expression and redefines the meaning of time-laborious painting.

In her recent creations, a recurring motif emerges the image of a smoking cigarette/joint. It stands as a symbol of "rest" or a "pause/break." 2023 being a year of relentless pursuit of productivity for Peucelle and many alike.

“We are also well aware of the detriments of smoking, so such an action, with these dichotomies, becomes an absurd sight”. This imagery frequently unfolds in public spaces, whether it's workers taking a break in front of their shop, a gathering of individuals at a bar, or a solitary girl indulging in a quiet smoke by her window. By investigating these recurring instances of everyday life, is where Peucelle starts to philosophise her idea of what beauty means.

Erika Peucelle will explore "Joie de vivre," drawing inspiration from Amsterdam and Paris, two places she has done a residency in. With a keen eye as a foreign observer, her artwork reflects the feeling of being both an outsider and a part of the community. This exhibit captures the essence of an artist's life, where daily routines of sleep, eat, paint, and repeat become the source of inspiration.

I portray the realities of youth through paintings capturing seemingly insignificant moments that gain significance through art. Inspired by youth culture, private gatherings, and adventures, I use photography to preserve unique auras, later translating them into paintings. My work reflects the context of my experiences in Europe and the Americas. I also explore the interplay of style, merging fast and refined techniques. Through painting, I aim to present daily sights, revealing insights into psychology and self-presentation.”