“All the streets that Ernest Pignon-Ernest has taken over in France and around the world lead him to Landerneau this summer. He invites us to follow in his footsteps and enter into his work, to meet his places, his characters, facing history, human stories.”
“What I do is a bit like composing a painting or making a montage. My palette is places, places and their history. I try to capture, to understand the space, the light, the color of the walls, their textures, that is to say, as a painter and a sculptor to apprehend everything that is seen there. And simultaneously to grasp also and above all everything that cannot be seen there, can no longer be seen there: history, buried memory.
My images are born from this investigation and their insertion in these places aims to make artistic and poetic spaces out of them, and by what is depicted to reveal, disturb… exacerbate the meaning and the symbolism, the suggestive force.
It has often been said that I do works in situation. In fact, I create situations.”
Ernest Pignon-Ernest has been working in the public space for more than fifty years. He presents in Landerneau his installations, his drawings, his photographs revealing his entire creative process. The exhibition bringing together more than three hundred works demonstrates the creative power of this great artist, alerted by the state of the world, uplifted by his passion for art and poetry, sometimes considered a pioneer of urban art. Thus appears behind the shadow of the artist loved by the general public a complex creator admired by the greatest thinkers and poets of today and long kept away from institutions.
His drawings installed in the streets of the cities of the world seem to be born from the very walls where he has carefully placed them to slip into our lives, on our books, in our minds. It is difficult to think of Rimbaud or Pasolini without their silhouettes immediately imposing themselves on us as Ernest Pignon-Ernest interpreted them.
These images are famous because they have become the most familiar identity of a poet, a fight or a situation.
Writers, resistance fighters, mystics, masterpieces of the past stuck in the streets of Naples; victims in Soweto, Haiti, Grenoble; solitudes in Lyons, in Paris; the collages of Ernest Pignon-Ernest often made in complex situations in Algiers, Port au Prince, Ramallah, Avignon have become the afterimages of the emotions that these figures or these distresses inspire in us.
The FHEL exhibition is the celebration of an artist who is already famous and who, activists or aesthetes, urban art artists, activists or lovers of literature or art history call for.
By frequenting his work appear stages, processes, methods, less familiar works that reveal a culture, a thought, a care that this exhibition shows by expanding the knowledge that we had.
The artist appears there in situation: his installations on the scale of the places, his photographic works which restore the emotion that his collages aroused, the sketches and through them, the decision-making processes which lead to the appearance of the figure. Ernest
Pignon-Ernest, the artist we thought we knew, long loved by the public and ignored by institutions, is presented for what he is: deep, complex, radical, concerned about people. He is an artist and a poet among those he celebrates.
Curator Jean de Loisy
June 12, 2022 – January 15, 2023
Fonds Hélène et Édouard Leclerc