Encompassing film, photography, collage, and installation, Marine Hugonnier's diverse practice is bound to an overarching concern with the politics of representation.Read More
With an academic background in philosophy (Bachelor of Philosophy, Tolbiac University, Paris, 1992) and anthropology (Master of Anthropology, Nanterre University, Paris, 1993–1995) as well as art (Fresnoy Studio National des Arts Contemporains, Lille, 1999), Marine Hugonnier challenges the notion of the innocence of images, contemplating the utopian projects and ideals of the past century, and revealing them as products of human agency.
Marine Hugonnier's artworks often examine the political potential of images through conflicting perspectives. In Marine Hugonnier's Ariana (2003), an 18-minute film, a film crew travels to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and Panjshir Valley, a region in north-central Afghanistan known for its history of resisting Soviet and Taliban ideologies. The crew attempts to capture a panorama of the valley, but is unable to gain access because such a view could threaten the area's utopian isolation. In Kabul, the military readily grants permission but Hugonnier, who voices the narration in the film, realises that a panorama of Kabul could conflate the diverse and fragmented layers of the city into a single image. In the end, she decides not to take the shot.
Other artworks consider the arbitrariness of reality by revealing the process of production of images. In 2006, Marine Hugonnier journeyed to Brazil to film the Trans-Amazonian Highway: a massive road project that the military regime of Brazil (1964–1985) began in the early 1970s to free land in the vast Amazonian forest for resettlement but left unfinished. The resulting video, Travelling Amazonia (2006), focuses mostly on the making of a camera dolly and the local people involved in its creation; the actual act of filming the highway only begins towards the end, when night falls, and the work concludes with a scene of the dolly disappearing into the darkness of the forest. Apicula Enigma ('The Riddle of the Bees) (2013) first appears as a documentary about bees, but shows more of the crew at work close to the hive, similarly indicating that the 'reality' shown in films is far from objective and is dependent on their producers.
Marine Hugonnier's 'Art For Modern Architecture' series, ongoing since 2004, involves layering pieces of coloured paper over the photographs on newspaper front pages. The series began as homage to the American artist Ellsworth Kelly, using cut-outs from his book Line Form Color (1951), as an interpretation of his idea that paintings should expand beyond the gallery walls to match the scale of architecture.
In her collages, Marine Hugonnier metaphorically treats newspapers as buildings that encase daily life. 'Art For Modern Architecture' also continues the artist's interest in diverging perspectives—she frequently employs many different newspapers that cover the same stories, such as the Iranian paper Kayhan and the American New York Times on the Iran hostage crisis (1979–1981).
Another collage series, 'Modele (A Revision)' (2009), provides a three-dimensional alternative. Each work consists of two layers of Rives paper, silkscreened with a single colour. and Hugonnier has cut geometric shapes out of the top layer and fixed them at an angle to create depth. By altering the flatness, she calls for a revision or reconsideration of utopian modernist ideals such as progress, liberty, and capitalism.
Selected solo exhibitions of this London-based artist include Travel Posters, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh (2020); Ties II: Pietro Consagra & Marine Hugonnier, Italian Cultural Institute, London (2017); Welcome Bees!, B-A-U, South Tyrol (2016); and Film Works: Marine Hugonnier, Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul (2014).
Marine Hugonnier's photographs and films have been exhibited internationally, such as at the Visite Film Festival, Antwerp (2017); Double Feature, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany (2015); the 43rd International Film Festival Rotterdam (2014); the 4th Auckland Triennial Last Ride in a Hot Air Balloon, Auckland (2010); and Cine y casi cine 2005, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2005).
Biography by Ocula | 2020