Philippe HURTEAU - Overview
Jean-Luc and Takako Richard are happy to represent the painter Philippe Hurteau. For his first solo exhibition at the gallery he offers this Overview on the recent developments of the series that compose his painting. Since the series «Télévision» (1995), his pictorial research has been devoted to the question of the contemporary subject immersed in the information society and bombarded with images designed to shape his psyche. For the artist, the history of painting is primarily a history of consciousness, by definition inseparable from his time. The painter therefore has no choice but to confront this history with the «mechanics» of the contemporary world, and first of all with the profound digital mutation of civilization, so rapid and violent that it announces the advent of a homo numericus with an uncertain destiny. For Philippe Hurteau, painting, far from being obsolete, is an essential and radical tool to bear witness to the existential stakes of the time.
Conducted at the same time, the various series explore different genres of painting: Facecreen the portrait, Abscreen the landscape, Studio the history painting, etc. The Facecreen paintings, in keeping with the tradition of the portrait, and even the self-portrait with the selfie, address the question of the subject. Radically truncated, the image of the face is deprived of sight, crossed by lines of code or computer bugs. The “eye crisis” directly evokes a crisis of identity. The Abscreen paintings rely on screen images to play with the codes of abstraction, denying the misleading opposition between abstraction and «image» or «figure». They are often part of the landscape genre. Waves, whether of sea or fire, directly evoke the ecological perils when the Nasdaq’s charts turn into a storm. The NFPP series (a subset of the Abscreen series) is an ironic reflection on the status of works in the virtual world. The analysis of the original colors of an array by algorithms results in an abstract proposal at the same time conceptual, factual and absurd.
The larger formats of the Studio series evoke history painting. This «studio» is made up of walls of images, it is a non-lieu where a figure of the body is elaborated in the digital age. Both in the offshoring, in the media exhibition, and in the hybridization of presence and absence. Fragmentary and ghostly figures try to inhabit the image at the same time as they seem to produce it.
Technically, several paintings use a unique process that consists in reappearing by sanding the relief of prints on aluminum covered by several layers of paint. Thus the numerical logic is inscribed in the very heart of the table. As for the mirrors covered with code, first evoking the screens, they have the function of bringing back to the reality of the in-situ by the tears of the images that cover them.
A book entitled Philippe Hurteau/ Aperçu, published for this exhibition, shows a wide selection of recent works and their anchorage in older works.
After a first exhibition at Ateliers 86 at the Musée d’Art Moderne in the city of Paris and his participation in the Sao Paolo Biennale, the work of Philippe Hurteau is shown in Rome (Villa Medicis, 1989), Seoul, Palermo, London, Brussels, Taipeh, Chicago, Buenos Aires, etc. In 2003, he exhibited in Los Angeles (L.A. Cams, Raid Projects, 2003). In France, the Musée des Sables d’Olonne organized its first solo exhibition in an institution (Person, curated by Benoît Decron, 1998) and participated in group exhibitions in Angers, Bordeaux, Tanlay, Meymac and the Espace Paul Ricard in Paris (2005). In 2021-22, it is part of the exhibition “Painting: deprogrammed obsolescence” at the Musée d’Art moderne & contemporain des Sables d’Olonne and the exhibition “Painting: deprogrammed obsolescence – Licences libres au Musée de l’Hospice Saint-Roch, Issoudun en 2022.