Philippe Cognée


Installation, painting

Philippe Cognée

Past: January 10 → February 23, 2013

With his first major retrospective show currently running at the Musée de Grenoble, Philippe Cognée is presenting his very latest works at Galerie Templon.

“Philippe Cognée is a real anthropologist; his work has always strived to show people in their natural environments, the places that they inhabit,” says publisher and art critic Djamel Meskache. This latest series of works sees the artist freely reinterpreting the portrait form, melding the human figure and architecture, offering a portrait of the familiar. Starting from virtual walks using Google Street View, Philippe Cognée transforms anonymous pixelated façades into poetic landscapes. These “house portraits” hang next to a clutch of portraits of people, some famous, others not. A spectacular marble maquette of a town, one of Philippe Cognée’s rare installations, invites the viewer on a journey to places at once familiar and strange. Philippe Cognée has spent twenty years exploring the possibilities of thinning away the image. He has developed a very specific technique based on a combination of photography and the visual effect created by melting wax painting on canvas. Urban architecture, aerial views, supermarkets and recycling plants are just a few of the themes that capture his imagination.

“From the local to the global, from memory to present-day enigmas, the generalised doubt that wracks our societies, […] to this signposted and indefinable reality, the artists paints an utterly fascinating portrait,”

Guy Tosatto.

Born in 1957, Philippe Cognée lives and works in Nantes. A graduate of the Nantes Ecole des Beaux Arts, he was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1982 and a Villa Médicis Lauréat in 1990. He was a nominee for the 2004 Prix Marcel Duchamp. He has taught at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris since 2005.

His work has been the subject of numerous one-person shows, notably at the Angers Musée des Beaux Arts in 2005, MAMCO, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Geneva, in 2006 and the Haute-Normandie regional contemporary art collection in 2007. He recently contributed to Le réel est inadmissible, an exhibition designed by Jean-Charles Vergne and shown at the Hangar à Bananes art centre in Nantes in 2011, the year in which he also unveiled Echo, a major public commission for the Château de Versailles. His works feature in many famous collections, including at the Musée National d’Art Moderne — Centre Pompidou and the Fondation Cartier in Paris and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.

To mark the exhibition in Grenoble, which will then travel to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dôle, Actes Sud are publishing a 176-page bilingual French-English catalogue with written contributions from Guy Tosatto, Philippe Piguet and Yves Peyré

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Venue schedule

The artist

  • Philippe Cognée