Marine Hugonnier

Art for Modern Architecture – Years of Lead (1976), 2017

Silk printed paper clips onto vintage newspapers front pages

68 x 51 cm


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Artwork
Description

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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.

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