Born in 1979 - France
biography under completion
Not man as the king of creation, but rather as the being who is in intimate contact with the profound life of all forms or all types of beings, who is responsible for even the stars and animal life, and who ceaselessly plugs an organ-machine into an energy-machine, a tree into his body, a breast into his mouth, the sun into his asshole: the eternal custodian of the machines of the universe.
- Gilles Deleuze et Félix Guattari, The Anti-Œdipus
Sonia Hivert’s artistic universe inevitably recalls the Dutch-American painter and illustrator, Richard Linder. Like him, Hivert paints and draws with lively colors, in a psychedelic, seemingly naïve style, depicting the thousand and one metamorphoses that affect post-modern man. Concentrating sometimes on the technological complexity of his post-modern universe—she dubs her post-modern characters “bubble-people.” Sometimes Hivert focuses on the body (without organs) and its fantasies—which Hivert calls Divagations, or “ramblings”—her productions fall into three broad categories: the category of works representing the “organ-people,” as in her large paintings, the category of “energy-people,” like her ink series, and the category encompassing “fantasy-people,” as seen in her sketches.
But before analyzing specifically these three series that make up Hivert’s oeuvre, it makes sense to describe the nature of these “bubble-people.” Because these characters—having no markers of identity outside of their gender (man or woman)—possess a secret that delves at three levels into Hivert’s productions. Bodies without mouths (for sucking), without eyes (for imagining), without ears (for listening and speaking), without anuses (for shitting), these characters are beings who never could have been born, with their smooth and generic features, and who are mid-way between the olm, a shapeshifting salamander (capable of any metamorphosis) and the fetus, whose capacities for growth and change are ceaselessly being undermined by the effects of the world its born into, and education it receives.
One could therefore say then that Hivert’s bubble-people embody, in a perfect and simple way, the constant oscillation that affects the “nature” of post-modern man. That’s to say, that fact that he is, at once, a product of both nature and human industry. And as products of human industry, these bubble people are “organ-people” capable of plugging into the social flow that interpellates them, as in the series Peintures (Paintings); and as products of nature, they are “energy-people,” tending to dissolve into the currents that shape and constitute them, as is the case with the series Encres (Inks); and lastly, combining these two modes, they are the “fantasy-people,” capable of creating their own symbolism, as is the case in the works entitled Divagations (Ramblings).
In the series Peintures, for example, Hivert explores the complex relationships that unite the bubble people as “organ-people” with the “social machines” (whether religious, sexual, spiritual, or metaphysical) that should insure them with a stable identity. Contrarily, in the Encres, or ink, series, Hivert deconstructs these identities by exposing them to the action of a chaotic, decoded force (the force of a splash of color). And finally in her series Divagations, she projects us into her creatures’ unconscious, torn between the orderliness of defined organs and the dissolution of energy, to better show us, with extraordinary inventiveness, the infinite wealth of fantasies that forms their basis.
Like an alchemist, Hivert invites us to contemplate from an exoteric point of view (with her “organ-machine”) a schizophrenic post-capitalism like the one described by Deleuze and Guattari in The Anti-Oedipus, and from an esoteric point of view (with her “machine-energy” and her “machine-fantasies”) to examine the image of a modern man who, as prophesized by Michel Foucault at the end of The Order of Things, will soon disappear, like drawings in the sand…
- Frédéric-Charles Baitinger
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