Marine Hugonnier

Modele (a Revision) n.42 Green, 2013

Green silk printed Rives Paper and Collage

236 x 150 cm


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Artwork
Description

Hugonnier’s series Modeles (a Revision) was designed in conjunction with her series of newspaper collages. They possess the same vibrant shades, for instance, as the blocks of coloured paper used to obscure all images in Art for a Modern Architecture series. Where those colour blocks were small and contained, however, the Modeles are immense. Made from two layers of heavy, silk-screened Rives paper, they reach over a meter in height and two in length, and their cut-out components project outwards to provide a considerable depth. All this renders the Modeles somewhat abrasive: they encroach upon their surrounds and upon their viewer.

The almost brash indefatigability of the Modeles may seem at odds with the more moderate newspaper collages; but, in fact, their scale only assists these works’ advocacy of a principle which also underscores Art for a Modern Architecture. The principle in question is that art should serve some kind of structural function. The works in Art for a Modern Architecture — by adopting the newspaper as their basis — serve the social structures which frame our everyday life. The Modeles — whose astonishing physical presence seems almost architectural — serve the physical structures in which they appear.

Given the emphasis on structural function here, it is unsurprising that Hugonnier adopts the iconic palette of Le Corbusier’s notoriously functional architecture (itself drawn from a standard Kodak colour chart). The slightly muted green of this Modele has a somewhat hypnotising effect: under close inspection, the tone can seem to fade before the eyes—as if obscured by mist—before recovering its vivid intensity once more. In much the same way, the work’s protruding triangular folds have something oscillatory about them: though the form is, in reality, strong and rigid, it seems to bulge and compress intermittently. Together, these features create a work of art which is at once disorienting and captivating.

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