Art for Modern Architecture – Years of Lead (1976), 2017
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In 2004, Marine Hugonnier began a series of collages entitled ‘Art for Modern Architecture’ in which she used cut-outs from Ellsworth Kelly’s book Line, Form, Color to obscure the images on the front pages of newspapers. Since 2009, Hugonnier has been applying colourful patches of her own design to newspaper grounds, using the tones of a Standard Kodak Colour Chart. Yet these more recent incarnations continue to advocate Kelly’s principle that art should be made for public spaces; indeed, that art should serve some kind of structural function. Hugonnier fragile and unassuming collages might not support the physical structures that surround us; but, with newspapers as their basis, they influence the social structures which frame our everyday life.
In this particular collage—one of a smaller group within the ongoing series, created in response to the sculptures of Pietro Consagra—Hugonnier makes use of a vintage edition of the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. Dating from the Years of Lead (1969-80)—also the most active years of Consagra’s artistic career—this newspaper page reports various atrocities of the kind which characterised that dark period in Italian history: ‘Terror attack in a bank in the centre of Milan’; ‘Thirteen dead, Ninety injured’; ‘Seventy extremists arrested’.
By covering the images of these well-known events, Hugonnier disrupts normative narratives of propaganda, spectacle and power, thereby overcoming the prescriptions of each. Furthermore, by being highly economic with her information, the artist paradoxically creates a profusion of speculation: the viewer is encouraged to engage with the work actively, either by remembering or imaginatively recreating the images which are hidden.