Marine Hugonnier’s work researches the politics of vision. Across film, photography and work on paper she engages with an on-going questioning of ‘the gaze’ and of image-making procedures. Although French, she partly grew up in the US and studied philosophy and anthropology before becoming an artist. These disciplines continue to influence her practice.
In Hugonnier’s latest series of works, under the title TRAVEL POSTERS, the artist explores the travels of the acclaimed Pan Am posters (originally designed by Yvan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar in 1971 and photographed by Magnum’s photographers for advertising campaigns) through the digital age. By looking at their appearance on the net and comparing their loss or addition of substance - Hugonnier’s work shows how these images - although apparently all similar - are in effect all different.
Discussing the digital travel of these images, Marine has referred to "data as the new dust” which connects Travel Posters to another group of works: her ongoing Restoration Project, in which paintings are acquired by the artist and subjected to a process of restoration (by a qualified conservator). The 'restored' paintings are exhibited alongside two condition reports, one highly technical made before the restoration and one after, also technical, but often with a poetic twist that takes the viewer back in time to the moment of the painting being first made. In a similar way to the Travel Posters, these are an invitation to consider the transient nature of images across time and place, and consider, also, the influence of human touch on images.
In another ongoing series, Art for Modern Architecture, Hugonnier covers front-page images of historical newspapers with silk screened coloured paper. The colours used are the ones of the standard Kodak color chart (cyan, green, yellow, red, magenta, black). Covering each image breaks the narrative structure and the temporality; these collages reference photographer and theorist Allan Sekula’s research into “Anti-photojournalism”, and the artist’s role towards political events. By overlaying the image, Hugonnier affirms a strong scepticism about the informative and documentary capacity of images and investigates the viewer’s memory; the collective consciousness of the events depicted.