Past: January 14 → March 10, 2012
It is hard to attribute a stylistic unity to Hubert Duprat’s work. His intention isn’t to surprise or to create “out of the blue”; each one of his pieces is the result of a precise and tangible moment that pinpoints a significant experience, meant to allow him to temporarily break up with his previous schemes. He is at the crossings of two worlds: the world of free artistic expression, and the world of rationally organized artifacts. Neither goldsmith nor sculptor, not an entomologist, definitely not an archeologist, not even an artist, he uses his knowledge to reach beyond a purely artistic sphere. His interest doesn’t really lie in the transformation of something into something else that could be considered artwork, but rather in the creation of a metaphor between being and becoming, a ”know-how” and a possible “how-to-know”.
For his second solo exhibition at art: concept, Hubert Duprat shows four pieces that will surprise both on a visual and on a technical level. Juggling between mineral, tactile and sensorial universes, he organizes the unexpected encounter of materials such as pyrite, ulexite, Styrofoam, Plexiglas, sharkskin and plasticine. These are both natural and synthetically produced materials; produced by men by seizing existing forms, standardizing them and making them invariable. What would happen if we tried to attribute a new formal gender to these standardized forms?
Take the example of sharkskin: this material’s initial purpose is to protect and regulate the body of a fish on a thermal level. Despite its complete difference with Styrofoam on a cellular level, the juxtaposition of the two insulating materials is impressive; because once covered with graphite powder, Styrofoam looks very much like the fish-skin in its very structure. Matter holds a power of transformation and isn’t finally as stuck in a pre-destined mould as one would think. It allows dialogue, interpretability and thought.
Pyrite, for instance, literally means, “fire-stone”. It was known in ancient times under the name of “fool’s gold” and was almost considered a sort of philosopher’s stone. This mineral’ most regular specimens, coming from Navajun in Spain, will be used by Hubert Duprat to amplify spatiality and light effects. Captured by the contemplation of a surface in turn smooth like a mirror or bumpy and irregular; spectators will feel bereaved of the object’s materiality and lost in contrasting effects of light and shade.
Substance is universal and trans-historical and its possibilities are infinite. When manufactured, like Plexiglas, it can turn into a simple cubic piece looking like Op art. Substance beckons for shape, be it in natural or in man-made form, and shape was there since the early stages of mankind. Hubert Duprat invites the spectator to get rid of his beliefs and stop thinking in terms of “artistic medium” to start perceiving matter as an entity capable of thinking and expressing its own nature. In a need for transversality, Hubert Duprat chooses circles and cubes. Cubes which in Plato’s theory of 4 elements refer to earth. These four sculptures reveal the full extent of this theory’s meaning by plunging us into an evidence of transformation and appropriation with the help of primitivism and science fiction, but maintaining the values of simplicity, obviousness and precision.
Hubert Duprat always pays extra attention to the physical results of his pieces; both in the choice of materials and by the orientation that he chooses to give them. His works are not just works of art in their basic acceptance. Rather than merely judging this production on an aesthetic level, we try to reach out for it in a new field of knowledge. Beyond the sphere of functionality, these objects claim their simple “Dasein”, or at least their ability to create links with other materials.
Duprat could never be considered a naturalistic artist and is inscribing his name in the art world as a sort of pioneer, a discoverer of virgin territories. His great gift is the ability to create symbiotic relationships and complementarities between entities apparently unrelated to each other. Eclectic and variable though it may be; his vocabulary remains precise, allowing him the most amazing connections between shapes and materials, techniques and disciplines.