I’m Just A Girl
March 16 – May 18, 2024
Ballon Rouge is pleased to present Lucie Mercier’s I’m Just A Girl from March 16 - May 18, 2024. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Belgium. Direct and simple as the title of this exhibition is, and as quotidian as her paintings on paper appear, there is an unavoidable and intrinsic power to Mercier’s works. Think No Doubt’s “Just A Girl.” Think pop approachability underlined by very clear punk feminist politics and aesthetics.
Contemporary artists queering the gaze and standing against old-hat notions of the artist and muse as man and woman, respectively, is not uncommon nowadays. Though, it is important that we not forget that this reversal, refusal, and re-definition of the “male gaze” is a relatively new phenomenon. We are still a part of a world that considers a girl as a powerless, small thing, and a girl’s world as less than. Mercier is queering the gaze and making a girl’s world worthy.
She takes us directly into her universe, her point of view. Her hands or body are present in every work. She is consistently implying a closeness to her subject, whether it be herself, another, nature, or a situation. She is there as much as the rest. Our gaze is her gaze. She calls these scenes “simple utopias.” They are sensitive representations of suspended moments where sweetness, anger, and poetry co-exist. These are moments about a girl, a girl thinking about girls, a girl spending time with girls; sometimes this is romantic and sexual, and sometimes it is platonic, or introspective. Mercier depicts a range of snapshots and moments in degrees. Some works show what many consider foundationally ‘girly’ - doing eachother’s makeup and hair; other works show moments which many would uncomfortably dismiss as explicitly not ‘girly’ - a party scene showing a line atop a key, or a strap-on clad female body. All moments are made equal by Mercier. Each work tells a story of one multi-faceted girl.
Lucie Mercier (b. 1991, France) studied in Eindhoven (Netherlands), Ghent (Belgium) and graduated from the architecture school of Lille, France. She exhibited in Montreal (2022 and 2023) and in Lille for her first solo exhibition "Sweet Survival" in 2023. She began painting in 2021, after years of dissatisfaction in the field of architecture. Her very personal works sensitively explore political, feminist, mental health and empowerment issues. She questions the norms of representation through the prism of the female gaze, the re-appropriation of nudity, and the transition of the female body from the status of object to that of subject. Her works aestheticize daily life with a vernacular emphasis on the political, all imbued with the joy of sorority, power, and feminine anger. She is based in Paris.