Эрнест Пиньон-Эрнест


Ernest Pignon-Ernest was born in Nice in 1942. Since 1966, he has made the street both the setting and subject for his ephemeral works of art, which echo the historical and current events occurring there. Many of his artistic experiences were therefore preceded by a search for an outdoor space.

“Places are my essential materials, I try to understand them, to grasp both everything that can be seen there like the space, light and colours and everything that can no longer be seen such as history and buried memories. From that, I develop my images, which are then borne of the places in which I am going to set them (...). This insertion aims at both making the place a ‘visual space’ and working on its memories, revealing them, stirring them up and intensifying the symbolic (...). I do not produce works in a situation; I try to produce situations with works”.

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 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.

Ernest Pignon-Ernest regularly works with Jean-Christophe Maillot and the Ballets de Monte-Carlo. In 1995, he designed a stage curtain for the Monte-Carlo Opera to commemorate the company’s 10th anniversary. For Jean-Christophe Maillot, he designed the staging for Romeo and Juliet in 1996, Cinderella in 1999, La Belle in 2001 and was involved in Miniatures in April 2004, he also designed Le Songe in 2005 and Daphnis et Chloé in 2009.

For one of his work, Parcours Jean Genet in Brest, he developed his characters with the assistance of some of the dancers from the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Gaëtan Morlotti, Evgueni Slepov and Jean-Claude Nelson.

He has also produced a work inspired by the texts of great Christian mystics in association with the principal dancer, Bernice Coppieters. In the 2000s, he told her about his desire to create a project around 7 mystical women. The dancer would become his model for a decade. In July 2008, the artist took over the Chapel of Saint Charles d’Avignon (then the Grimaldi Forum the following year) to exhibit the results of this collaboration. The exhibition was the subject of a book, Extases, Gallimard, 2008.