We are pleased to present the exhibition The Bee, the Parrot and the Jaguar by French artist Marine Hugonnier, who is returning to São Paulo for her second solo show at Galeria Fortes Vilaça. The show features a film along with photographs and sculptures which are a continuation of a research about ways to approach the animal world and nature and the systems of representation that we have created of them.
In the film Apicula Enigma [The Bee Enigma], Marine deconstructs the chain of the “wildlife documentary” by using technical resources from cinema to approach the factual truth of a beehive. Based on research into Western mythologies associated with bees, including the booksThe Life of Bees (1910) by Maurice Maeterlink and A Foray into the World of Animals and Men by J.V Uexküll, as well as works spanning from Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Marey to children’s stories by Walt Disney, the artist sought to film the space between the bees and the film crew, the experience of being in the presence of the bees, instead of humanizing the bee society and using it as an allegory for our society. The film is a means of seeking the distance at which the animal world keeps its enigma.
Hugonnier considers the figure of the parrot as a cultured animal, since it has the ability of speech. The idea to include an animal in a public context for its capacity to communicate is the basis for the performance that will take place during the opening of the exhibition, where a parrot will interact with the audience. This performance, which is in reference to Marcel Broodthaers, announces her next feature film project, The Parrot Case, which is an adaptation of the true story of a parrot that saw a murder and was then taken to court as a key witness.
In the show, the artist intervened on three objects by stamping the words “Union Pour La Cinegenie” (Union for Cinegenie). This union is an informal group created by Hugonnier and Manon De Boer with the purpose to define the made up word “cinegenie”. This three objects – an 18th century etching, a collage book and a vintage jaguar car advertisement – are examples that help define that very special quality, “La Cinegenie”, or are to be considered for their cinematic qualities.
The third part of the show is based on Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s field of research and concept: the Amerindian perspective wherein there exists just one humanity of which the animals also take part. This Amerindian notion extends the idea of subjectivity to a non-differentiation between humans and animals. In this different ontological conception, the reality and viewpoint of an animal, like a jaguar, can be grasped and shared. Having another perspective of the same reality is one of the aims of the shamanic rituals practiced by the indigenous people of the Amazonia region. In this context, the artist presents a series of abstract sculptures entitled Anima, which are moveable objects. The title refers to the words: soul or spirit or psyche. These works are installed on mirrored pedestals which reflection brings together the viewer, his surrounding and the sculpture to form one new body.
In Anima(L), the Anima abstract sculpture is accompanied by an image of a animal creating a new relation. These works are about the desire to subjectify objects and are a reinterpretation of the idea of animism in our contemporary world. Next to these is a ready made sculpture of a Were Jaguar which is a representation of a shaman becoming a jaguar – a common subject in high lands of South America, which the artist has enhanced with gold leaf. Two large luminograms made with photosensitive paper are emanations of the heat and the elements present in a chosen environment, resulting in almost monochromes images.
This show considers different kind of ontological conceptions of humans and animals and to do so questions the traditional dichotomies of modernity; the division between Nature and Culture, Subject and Object and the modes of productions and exchanges that these systems of thoughts imply.
Marine Hugonnier was born in Paris, France, in 1969 and lives and works in London. Among her recent solo shows, we can highlight the ones held at Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, UK (2013); FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France (2009); Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (2009); Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany (2009); Musée D’Art Moderne et Contemporain MAMCO, Geneva, Switzerland (2008); S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium (2007); and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA (2007). Her work figures in important collections such as those of Thyssen-Bornemisza Contemporary Art Foundation, Vienna; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; MoMA, New York; MACBA, Barcelona; Jumex Collection, Mexico City; Reina Sofia, Madrid; Instituto Inhotim, Brumadinho; and others.