The versatile artist, graphic designer, video-maker, photographer and sculptor Hugues Reip tries to bring unusual and surprising aspects out of an object, a place, or a situation. “I remember the prints illustrating the tales of Jules Verne, which, in making the unreal real, conjured up a world which had a body, a time, and a visible space which were different from ours… but in the same place”, explains the artist. By wrenching out of banality insignificant objects whose parts he alters—their scale, for example—Reip creates irrational atmospheres within which the spectator is faced with a world where the objects are distorted to the point of no longer being identifiable. In 1991, with his Mountains, he proposed a sculptural interpretation of pictorial motifs borrowed from works of painters. From the canvas, or more precisely from the form painted as a referent, he brings out strange and anachronistic volumes. Building (1993) is an early work in Reip’s output, which, while removing itself from the fanciful, already indicates the artist’s interest in the semantic shift of objects. At Chamarande Castle, in 2009, his exhibition titled Le Château had as its springboard a picture by Hubert Robert. The artist devised pieces specifically for each one of the rooms (paintings, installations and videos), seeking to establish reverberations between them. A world that was at once fairylike and disquieting took the visitor into another reality, situated somewhere between “abstraction and magic”. Hugues Reip’s work can be defined as a strategy for invading reality, where, using an intrusive tactic, he reveals a relative reality.
Since the early 1990s, Hugues Reip’s work has been shown at many solo exhibitions, in art centres (Le Quartier in Quimper, the CRAC in Sète, the Domaine de Chamarande) and regional contemporary art collections (FRACs, Limoges, Lower Normandie). His work, represented by the Galerie du Jour agnès b., was quick to find its way beyond France’s borders, and has been exhibited in particular in Japan (Tokyo Wonder Site), in Iceland (Safn Museum in Reykjavik) and in the United States (Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York). He won the 2004 Prix Altadis, alongside Berdaguer & Péjus and François Curlet. He teaches at the Ecole Nationale d’Architecture de La Villette, in Paris.