Pignon-Ernest commits himself, he chooses the city, out of challenge or necessity, permeates all aspects to the extreme (drawing, photography, etc) will immerge into history and the legend. It will be Le Cap in Nice in 1974 at the occasion of the of twinning of the city that he rejects ‘Rimbaud’ in 1978 and it will be Naples in 1988 that will offer him its brutal light and its stubborn past, Soweto, its engagement against apartheid. He founds ‘Artists of the World Against Apartheid’ with Antonio Saura and Jacques Derrida. Outside of the merchant circles, Pignon-Ernest glues large silk-screen paintings on the walls of the cities that he intervenes where … the telephone cabins of Paris as ‘these are places that reflect the city’. Fascinated by the first gestures of prehistoric Man, he produces ‘Les Arbrorigenes’ (The Aborigines trees) in 1984.
The artist likes to mix on paper the portraits of famous musicians, writers (‘Tête a Tête’ in 1997 with Antonin Artaud) or poets. Pignon-Ernest pays tribute. Will he intervene in New York or in India or elsewhere? Always wanting to open the eyes of the spectator tolook at misery, poverty, immigration, racism, epidemics (South Africa again in 2001-2002 with Aids). His art, often ephemeral, has meaning.
Ernest Pignon-Ernest has never understood art, his art, encorporates a total engagement: political, poetic, plastic. His work is found in numerous international museums. Živi i stvara u Parizu.
‘I always start with walking through a city, by day and night, trying to understand its organization, to comprehend its space, rhythm, colour, texture, light, everything visible. Simultaneously, thanks to many meetings as well as the numerous books I have read, I give my best to see what is not visible (any more) – history, memories that haunts some place, its suggestive, poetic and symbolic power. On the basis of everything mentioned, I create my photographs. They come to life immediately, through the recognition of an environment, and I try to fit them in through the drawings and to establish the relationship between picture’s inner space, wall surface and real space.’
Atomic bomb, loneliness, apartheid and AIDS, but also Michelangelo, Rimbaud, Deno, Arto /ni u jednom tekstu o Pinjonu nisam pronasao ova imena/pojmove, pa ne znam kako se pisu izvorno/… for forty years, all of them are Pignon-Ernest ‘s inspiration for his researches on the art, poetry, people and plagues of our time. It has been said that he interbreeds the art and the politics. But when his work is in question, there is no excuse. He does not want to bring the art closer to us, nor to recommend a dogma, but to reveal to us the places we live in. On the other hand, some place, especially the city, can not be reduced to its geography. Everywhere, in every space, we can find symbolic substrate in the shape of historic weaving and circumstances. Pignon-Ernest’s works bare timely stratification and reveal what is the least palpable in a city – its memories. How to make any place’s symbolism visible? First of all, by the balance between the real effect and the distance. Even for the price of distortions and anamorphosis, a drawing merges and amalgamates with the environment. Piece of art finds its stronghold in the environment thanks to fragility of newspaper paper, so delicate that it adheres to the wall surface and obeys every single irregularity. But at the same time, picture’s iconic status gets revealed by the paper’s whiteness and a line’s classicism. Pignon-Ernest’s drawings are not optical deceptions, but vectors of a view. They invite us to search the space, to find out its past. But his works are far from the banal attempts to arise the memories. To show Maurice Audin at the very place of his agony includes both his symbolic presence and his disappearance. If it was supposed to be just a memory of him and the city of Algiers where he had lived, the plain memorial plaque would be quite sufficient, but the piece of art tells a different tale: a tale of the voluntary amnesia and the government’s embarrassed silence. It is all the same with Rimbaud, the poet of a short life, l’ enfant terrible, witnessed only by the fragile serigraphs that Pignon donated to the city. Opened, unframed without any space or time restriction...