Exhibition | Chantal Joffe : For Esme - with Love and Squalor | Contemporary Art at Arnolfini | Bristol | Art Week

Chantal Joffe : For Esme - with Love and Squalor

Share this


Exhibition Type:

How many artists: 

How many exhibition works:


Thursday, 3 September 2020 to Sunday, 22 November 2020

Chantal Joffe: For Esme – with Love and Squalor, explores the intimate act of painting and portraiture. Taking its name from J.D. Salinger’s short story For Esmé – with Love and Squalor (1950) in which time hangs as heavy as the protagonist’s ‘enormous-faced chronographic-looking wristwatch’, the exhibition captures the changing faces across the years of Chantal and her daughter Esme, moving between mother and daughter, love and squalor, and the act of care and being cared for.

Including a number of new works (many produced whilst in ‘lockdown’), highlights include a series of portraits of Joffe’s daughter, from older works such as Esme (First Painting) captured as a new-born swaddled in blankets, to the later, defiantly awkward, Esme in White, painted within days of her sixteenth birthday this year.

These sit alongside a number of self-portraits, including the both intimate and monumental Bonnard inspired Reading in Bath I and III; never-before seen series Pictures of What I Did Not See, which depicts Joffe undergoing a traumatic illness and being cared for by Esme and a series of startlingly honest self-portraits. Produced one a day over the course of a year this 2018 series captures both the artist and her environment – from London’s cool winter light to the haze of a summer in the stifling New York heat.

The relationship between subject and place (specifically the domestic interior) and solitude and company within each of these works feels especially resonant. To paraphrase co-curator Dorothy Price, art historian and long-time collaborator of Joffe, Joffe’s work ‘traces a finger of time through the very act of being alive.’

Artist ( Name ):

Artist ( Description ): 

Born in 1969, St. Albans, Vermont, USA, Chantal Joffe lives and works in London, UK. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art and was awarded the Royal Academy Wollaston Prize in 2006. Joffe will create a major new public work for the Elizabeth line station at Whitechapel. Titled A Sunday Afternoon in Whitechapel, the work will be on view when the Crossrail station opens in 2021. Her recent solo exhibition titled Personal Feeling is the Main Thing at The Lowry, Salford in 2018 presented works from across Joffe’s career and alongside works by the German artist Paula Modersohn-Becker.

Chantal Joffe is represented by Victoria Miro, who have supported the exhibition’s development alongside the work of Professor Dorothy Price, University of Bristol, who has collaborated with Joffe for a number of years, including co-curating Personal Feeling is the Main Thing at The Lowry in 2018.

0117 917 2300
Other Info: 

Exhibition slots bookable in advance. Open Thursday to Sunday, 12pm to 5pm each week.

Venue ( Name ):

Venue ( Address ): 

16 Narrow Quay



Other shows from Arnolfini

Jo Spence : From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy | Photographs from The Hyman Collection
12/19/2020 to 05/30/2021
A Picture of Health | Women Photographers from The Hyman Collection
12/19/2020 to 05/30/2021
Art in the City | Candice Lin
Hassan Hajjaj: The Path
07/30/2020 to 11/01/2020



Related Shows This Week in UK

A Picture of Health | Women Photographers from The Hyman Collection
12/19/2020 to 05/30/2021
04/22/2021 to 06/06/2021
Jo Fairfax: Play
01/23/2021 to 05/16/2021
ONLINE: Tea, Cake & Art
01/05/2021 to 06/29/2021
Rafał Zajko: Amber Waves (Bursztynowe Fale)
04/21/2021 to 05/22/2021
Lee Jeonglok | Iceland
03/30/2021 to 05/16/2021
This Place Where I Stand
04/13/2021 to 05/01/2021
Rachid Koraïchi: Tears that Taste of the Sea
04/13/2021 to 06/12/2021