Chantal Joffe: Story

Chantal Joffe,Victoria Miro

Victoria Miro presents new works by Chantal Joffe. Accompanied by an artist’s book with a new text by Olivia Laing, Story features paintings of the artist’s mother and considers issues of ageing, motherhood and visibility, focusing particularly on the complex relationship between mother and child over time.

The exhibition is the third in a trilogy that began with a year of self-portraits, shown at Victoria Miro in 2019, followed by For Esme – with Love and Squalor, which captured the changing faces across the years of Joffe and her daughter, Esme, on view at Arnolfini, Bristol, in 2020.
Chantal Joffe brings a combination of insight and integrity, as well as psychological and emotional force, to the genre of figurative art. Defined by its clarity, honesty and empathetic warmth her work is attuned to our awareness as both observers and observed beings, apparently simple yet always questioning, complex and emotionally rich.

The exhibition includes a number of new paintings of the artist’s mother, Daryll, part of an ongoing series that Joffe began some three decades ago. These works, some painted from family photographs, others from life, range back and forth in time. The Story of the title refers to a painting depicting the artist and her two sisters as children in the early 1970s, snuggled up on a sofa with their mother as they share a bedtime story. Other paintings show Daryll now, alone – standing in her doorway, reclining on sofa after a cataract operation – or accompanied by Joffe, the shifts in dynamic as much emotional and psychological as they are physical but no less palpable. As Olivia Laing writes in the accompanying publication, ‘Over the years, a kind of hardening takes place, a process of separation and individuation on both sides. It’s not just that everyone gets older, but rather that time occasions a shift in perspective and visibility too. The mother recedes inch by inch, becoming smaller and harder, emerging as a person with needs and sadnesses in her own right…’


Duration 04 June 2021 - 31 July 2021
Times see website
Cost Free - advance booking required
Venue Victoria Miro London
Address 16 Wharf Road, London, N1 7RW
Contact 4402073368109 / /