Yann Leto: Big City

2 Feb-4 Mar 2023


‘I love portraying reality, but I also like being able to change it. Making something you thought would never happen suddenly occurs on a canvas’. – Yann Leto

By echoing urban and social aesthetics of jazz, bars, lust and street culture in Leto's work, the show emphasises his trenchant interpretation of the essence of Big City life. Leto’s extensive body of work, on view at the gallery for the first time as solo-show, celebrates hybridity, vibrancy and unconventionality, eschewing any traditional restriction on artistic expression. French-born yet Rome-based, Leto draws inspiration from the atmosphere of the city where he lives. Chaotic, historical, perpetual - Rome allows Leto to embrace the dynamic and unpredictable city life.

His paintings emanate a freeing spirit of acceptance, independence, and revolt against confining social and political conventions, revealing an open and brilliant portrait of society. United in diversity, the paintings of Big City offer a stimulating and equivocal overview of the urban and social environment, in which colour, pleasure and ephemeral celebrations meet loneliness, misery and despair. Reproducing the complexity of life, Leto chose to paint what the city represents to him, gravitating towards the approach that Otto Dix implemented in ‘Metropolis’, determined to recount the social ambivalence instead of beautifying the environment. 

JD Malat Gallery is pleased to bring Yann Leto’s captivating works to London’s vibrant art scene, encouraging audiences to reflect upon contemporary society and embrace an exhilarating and dynamic sense of freedom.