The Christopher Henry Gallery is pleased to present its first solo exhibition of Julien Friedler curated by Gabrielle Bryers entitled “Who is Jack Balance?”.
Covering two floors the exhibition is an introduction to Jack Balance and the World of Boz. A Dante’sInferno like quest through the art world, Friedler takes the viewer on an adventure through a parallel universe of life’s unanswered questions expressed through writing, painting, sculptures, happenings and conceptual projects. As uncertainty grips the current world mindset the artist endeavors to discover and interpret this unbalanced world as modern allegories. There is a spirituality in the imperfect world of Friedler: he helps us to see, understand, and accept the inescapable imperfection that is the human condition.
Jack Balance is the main character in Friedler’s world, BOOK OF BOZ, a 700 page epic that forms the core of his entire artwork. The character continually suffers at the hands of his creator – born deaf and dumb in a match box, he lives in a cage, able to express himself only by whistling or writing on boards. He is granted speech once a year on his birthday. A metaphysical personage, Jack Balance originally desires to become human; frequent encounters, however, have him wishing to remain a fictional character.
The works in the exhibition depict the various exploits of Jack Balance while exploring a diverse range of communication mediums in the visual arts. On the first floor of the gallery are 30 original Comic Strip illustrations –bright, childishly optimistic pages which introduce the viewer to the BOOK OF BOZ. In the center of the gallery stands Mappemonde, an exquisite Murano glass sculpture staging the 3 main characters of the book, its delicate elements symbolizing the fragility of life. The second floor reveals the background of Jack Balance: a sculptural likeness is surrounded by a projection providing an insight into the world of BOZ, accompanied by a unique series of photographs depicting the Lives and
Deaths of Jack Balance.