Unfold Hugo Pernet’s world of visual serenity

According to a joyful and “fruitful” self-description of his art “apples, bananas and oranges”, Hugo Pernet (b.1983) creates paintings that explore form, colour and everyday subjects, examining the relationship between these elements on canvas. Whether he copes with abstraction or with gestural arrangements, Pernet makes compositions that involve an intellectual sense of spontaneity in his creative process. Projecting a philosophic approach on his canvas, the artist’s imagery brings references to an interesting range of painters from Paul Klee, Georges Vantongerloo or even Ellsworth Kelly.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Hand, 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 20×20 cm, Courtesy: Hugo Pernet
His artistic vocabulary can be humorous, while his compositions are revealing a high-spirited irrationality using a sophisticated array of pale colours and elegant strokes of paint. Focusing on the energy of the minimalist language and the attributes of the abstraction, Pernet’s body of work unfolds a rich world of visual serenity. Looking at his art, there is also an evident reflection of freedom coming from his depictions; the flowing drawings allowing not only his creativity to blow up, but also encouraging his painting’s viewers to further engage with a free-floating perception of the language of contemporary art.
Hugo Pernet, Sylvain Rousseau et Les petits chats d’Auber, July 2017, Installation View, Photo: Andre Morin, Courtesy: Triple V Gallery
Pernet also pays attention to the tensions between the figurative elements on canvas and the colourful background, attempting to build a kind of artistic balance. Driven by the vocabulary of minimalism, where almost uneven painting manipulations can be seen, he introduces the viewer into a space of a colour-matched arrangement. Either there is a naive or simple depiction or neither, Pernet successfully seeks a powerful depth regardless the spontaneity or a demanding afterthought.
Feelings presented in a pictorial form, ephemeral motifs and other cultural references seen through Pernet’s lens always lead to the understanding of the abstract. While images of his works are associated with a particular symbolic, emotional and inner potential, the French artist manages to develop an intelligent structure that reflects its own logic.
Dick, 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 20×20 cm, Courtesy: Hugo Pernet
Pernet was born in Paris but now lives and works in Dijon, France. He studied at the Institute Superieur des Beaux-Arts Besancon and has exhibited his work in France, United States, Belgium and Italy. The Paris-based gallery, Triple V, and the Brussels-based gallery, Super Dakota, currently present Pernet’s work.
In his interview with ArtVerge, Hugo Pernet gives more details about his artwork and his personal life, such as his love for poetry and his two kids. Check him out.
Hand (relief), 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 20×20 cm, Courtesy: Hugo Pernet
ArtVerge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Hugo Pernet: I’m going to my studio.
How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
Apples. Oranges. Bananas.
Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
One day, in a very small Parisian bookstore, I recognized Claude Royet-Journoud (a great French minimalist poet), we were only the two of us in the store. I’m shy and he was my idol in poetry, at this period. I didn’t dare to speak to him. Later, I sent him some of my poetry works, and we started a correspondence. He sent me two rabbit soft-toys for the birth of my twin boys. I’ve never met him.
Studio View, April 2017, Image Courtesy: Hugo Pernet
When was the latest video you watched on social media and had an impact on your mood? Which one?
I’m the perfect target for social media, and I have been using them for many years, that’s why recently I tried holding up. All is fun and depressing at the same time. You can post an extract of a Tarkovsky’s film, but, what is the sense of this? Films are not clips, poetry is not about posts. We don’t have to make art for the size of social media. But I like this bullshit so much. We also need mediocrity, as we are.
Creating a new painting is a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
Yes, that’s an important point. I try to work when the other people work, ideally, the day between 9 am and 5 pm. I can’t make art on Sundays or on holidays, I want to be a normal person. Even if I know that’s wrong.


How do you know when a painting is finished?
So many people asked me that already and I have no response. Maybe, when we can’t make the painting better?
What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process?
I share a space with a young painter named Hugo Capron. I like the idea that I’m not alone, even if Hugo is not here. I changed studios so many times these last years, for financial or personal reasons. Maybe that fact can explain in a way all the stylistic changes in my work recently. But I think I’m just afraid to be bored by my own work.
Which exhibition did you visit last?
The Rob Pruitt show at Air de Paris, rue Louise Weiss in Paris. That’s perfect, very good art, but I have zero taste for his work. Sometimes art is too good to be interesting. I don’t need an artwork that makes all that he supposed to do.

What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
I hope they would think it’s good, inspiring. If you give someone else the desire to go to work, to make something, it’s sufficient to me. I have to say that there is a lot of very good painters of my generation, in France. They are not all represented by a gallery, but to see the work that they do is a great motivation for me. I want to be a part of it, I want to give my response.
What do your kids feel or think about your art?
I really don’t know, they are very young. They know that dad makes paintings, or canvases. I have been doing some paintings related to their conception, birth, or tastes as kids. And we do a lot of drawing together. But I don’t like painting with them, this is too much like “work” at home.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Kids = Morning
Is the glass half empty or half full?
Half empty, I’m so pessimistic. But my mind is strong.
Which are your plans for the near future?
I have my studio for one more year, I need to work. I have been living alone for seven months now, part-time with my kids, and part-time for… I don’t know… recover/ be alone with one’s self? To be an artist is sexy when you’re under 30, but after, you have to be successful. I could be promoting the upcoming shows for 2018, but this future is too far for me.

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