Ernest Pignon-Ernest

Born in 1942 - France


Ernest Pignon-Ernest, ambassador of urban art in France was born in Nice in 1942. He lives in Paris where he spread his art in the streets of the capital.

With charcoal and black chalk, he sketches human-sized figures on posters and then sticks them. He works with ribbed erasers of all sizes, refines shadows and brings realism and depth to his work. Like an owl, he goes out hunting walls in the night in order to create. Discreet and quick are the key words for his nocturnal outings.

Ernest-Pignon Ernest doesn't choose his places coincidentally. Thinking about the space takes up as much time as the final creation. A true instigator, he deciphers the environment in its spatial and symbolic dimension. He needs to be able to capture the entire territory to have an expert hand on it and provide his fictional element afterward. The essence of the place is then portrayed to all.

With Daniel Buren and Gérard Zlotykamien, Ernest-Pignon Ernest is one of the founding fathers of street art in France. Since 30 years, he uses dreams and poetry in alleys and streets, plotting the furrow for those generations of artists that will follow.

He can't help it but he still has some urban art founding principles like the ephemeral. Ernest-Pignon Ernest produces in series with the help of thin and delicate paper, therefore he goes with the flow of events. The work in streets belong to him and depend on him. The drawings will vanish through time or will be covered.

The artist gives a lot of important to the fact that creation has to be a part of his visual context. His human figures trigger face to face encounters with passers by, they are questioned while being on the street.

During his whole life, the artist defended all kinds of major social issues and became part of these in a political and artistic manner. In 1977, he was one of the founders of the National union of visual artists and the member of the French communism party.

His career and trips made him encounter horrible scenes. Firstly, he was horrified by the apocalypse events which hit Nagasaki and the walls still retain the traces, he sees shadows still impacted by the shock. The AIDS issue in South of Africa not to mention the struggle against Apartheid.

Ernest-Pignon-Ernest manages to capture the beauty and terror of the world, sometimes in the same work. He springs the essence of these two worlds, in order to question and stimulate the conscience, through finesse.

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ARC, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris

Pinakothek, Munich

Mamac, Nice

Musée de Vendôme

Palais Lumière, Evian

Maison René Char, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
Chapelle Saint-Charles, Avignon

Galerie Lelong, Paris
Musée Ingres, Montauban

Espace Encan, La Rochelle

Musée d'art et d'histoire de Saint-Denis

"Traits de Génie" Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille
Extases, Prieuré de Saint-Cosme, La Riche
Au-delà du Street art, Galerie du messager, Musée de La Poste, Paris
Extases, Demeure de Ronsard, Touraine
Prison Saint-Paul, Lyon

Prisons, Galerie Lelong, Paris
Maison des Arts, Malakoff
Regards sur les prisons de Lyon, Galerie FAIT ET CAUSE, Paris
Extases, exposition Charcot, Chapelle Saint-Louis-Hôpital de la Salpêtrière
Espace Paul Rebeyrolle, Eymoutiers
Ernest Pignon-Ernest et les caravagesques, Musée de Vire
Drawing Now, Carreau du Temple, Galerie Lelong, Paris
Ernest Pignon Ernest, Photographe, Maison européenne de la photographie

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