Marine Hugonnier

Art for Modern Architecture – Years of Lead (1976-77), 2017

Silk printed paper clips onto vintage newspapers front pages

68 x 51 cm


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Artwork
Description

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Art for Modern Architecture’ is a series of collages begun in 2004 by Marine Hugonnier. Each work consists of the front page of a newspaper with its images obscured by small overlays of coloured paper. For a number of years, Hugonnier cut her overlays from Line, Form, Color (a book by the American painter, Ellsworth Kelly) but, from 2009 onwards, the artist has created her own cut-outs. That is not to say that Kelly’s influence has disappeared from Hugonnier’s collages. His notion that art should always serve a structural function remains implicit in Hugonnier’s choice of medium: the newspaper, after all, boasts a significant influence on the structures social living.

These collages—belonging to a subset of ‘Art for Modern Architecture’ created in response to Pietro Consagra’s art—adopt a vintage edition of the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. They are dated 1976-77: the peak of the Years of Lead (1969-80). Indeed, many of the headlines refer to tragedies which took place within Milan during this era of left-wing terror tactics (‘Bomb in Brescia’; ‘A woman killed, eight people injured’ etc.); the article top left of the 1976 newspaper, however, has a more international tenor, describing Spain’s attempts to elect a government in the aftermath of Franco’s death. This newspaper thus sees a left-wing revolution meet the memory of a fascist regime—a meeting which, in the artistic context, seems to point to the grotesque affinity between all extremist politics.

By covering up the pictures accompanying these editions, Hugonnier questions the jurisdictions of propaganda, spectacle and power. She also encourages a dialectic relationship to form between artwork and viewer. When approaching the collage, we are not given information upfront; instead, we must employ our imagination or engage our memory of the atrocities recorded in order to construct a notion of what lies behind blocks of yellow and black.

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