Marine Hugonnier

Art for Modern Architecture – Years of Lead (1969), 2017

Silk printed paper clips onto vintage newspapers front pages

68 x 51 cm


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Artwork
Description

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Marine Hugonnier began ‘Art for Modern Architecture’—a series of collages featuring newspaper pages, their images overlaid with colourful paper—in 2004. The paper patches were, initially, cut by the artist from Ellsworth Kelly’s Line, Form, Color; since 2009, however, Hugonnier has fashioned the overlays herself, silk screening paper in the standard hues of a kodak colour chart (red, blue, green, yellow, magenta and black) and cutting it to size. Still, Kelly’s influence remains preeminent in Hugonnier’s more recent collages; his faith that art can serve a structural function, for instance, continues to underlie Hugonnier’s medium. Newspapers are, after all, an important prop for the societal structure.

These three collages (along with the collage almost half obscured by a large red rectangle) adopt vintage editions of the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera dated 1969. Hugonnier selects this particular background because these works were created in response to the sculpture of Pietro Consagra, an Italian artist who was entering the most productive period of his career in and around 1969. Not coincidentally, this date was also more broadly significant in Italian history: it marked the beginning of the Years of Lead (1969-1980), an era of great unrest during which leftist revolutionaries waged a war of terror upon state officials and civilians alike. Many of the headlines in Hugonnier’s newspaper collages reflect this state of turmoil: they report the breakdown of agreement within governmental parties, the chain of terror attacks hitting Italian train stations, and the threat of economic crisis.

In omitting the pictures from these newspaper pages, Hugonnier succeeds in undermining the power of spectacle and propaganda. By the same means, she dictates a reciprocal and interactive relationship between artwork and viewer: we must bring either memories or creativity to these collages in order to formulate a notion of the images concealed behind the patches.

About
the artist

Marine Hugonnier was born in Paris in 1969. She studied philosophy and anthropology, before gaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains, in 2000. She now lives and works in London.

Hugonnier’s works have been widely exhibited over the past fifteen years, including in shows at The Museum of Contemporary Arts, Seoul; The BALTIC Centre, Newcastle; Zabludowicz Collection, London. Hugonnier is also included in the collections of The Louvre, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia.

Hugonnier has worked in many different media—film, photography, collage, books and performance—but she has consistently engaged with the politics of representation. For instance, her works frequently acknowledge the fact that the viewer’s perception will be determined by their particular angle of observation; and they often employ this unavoidable aspect of the viewing experience as a metaphor for the inevitability of interpretational bias. In doing so, Hugonnier’s art not only deconstructs how and what we perceive visually; it also illuminates the viewer’s tendency to accommodate their predilections, circumscribing how and what they perceive analytically.

Never more is this the case than in Hugonnier’s ongoing series, Art for Modern Architecture (2004 – present), in which she takes the front page of various newspapers and obscures their images with patches of bright colour. This erasure technique works (alongside the general flatness of Hugonnier’s collage mode, which dictates a frontal approach) to enforce extreme restrictions upon our visual perception. These restrictions are then echoed in—and contribute towards—the viewer’s necessarily limited interpretation: we can only understand these collages according to our individual and necessarily biased memory or invented notion of the obscured images.

Hugonnier’s work revisits modernist tropes, often casting a disbelieving shadow upon their utopian aims to revolutionise the politics of power. For while her work shows that art can function in a social/political sphere to make people ‘think for themselves’, it also suggests that such a process might be considered a kind of propaganda in itself: one which enforces its own strict boundaries upon the viewer.


Hugonnier’s works have been widely exhibited over the past fifteen years, including in shows at The Museum of Contemporary Arts, Seoul; The BALTIC Centre, Newcastle; Zabludowicz Collection, London. Hugonnier is also included in the collections of The Louvre, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia.

Hugonnier’s work revisits modernist tropes, often casting a disbelieving shadow upon their utopian aims to revolutionise the politics of power. For while her work shows that art can function in a social/political sphere to make people ‘think for themselves’, it also suggests that such a process might be considered a kind of propaganda in itself: one which enforces its own strict boundaries upon the viewer.


Marine Hugonnier
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

September 26th, 2017 until
January 10th, 2018
Curated by ARTUNER