How is a story born? Guided by this question, Hugo Cantegrel displays a fragmented narrative, reminiscent of the snippets of a dream to which we are trying to give meaning. Sentences punctuate the space. Taken from songs, everyday conversations or political speeches, these hand-engraved words do not dictate any story. They are less messages that would produce information than clues that generate speculation. And it is as such that they enter into dialogue with adjacent images. A gun. A moment of tenderness. A hanging dog. An explosion of violence. The enigmatic photographs also derive from varied sources such as movie posters, media reports and family albums, selected intuitively and over time. One could be tempted to read this process of collection as some kind of appropriation. I would rather refer to it as a process of emancipation. Reframed, resized, reprinted on new bodies, the pictures are given a myriad of alternative lives. Neons crackle and make them breathe. The frame is therefore thought as a space of possibilities, and the exhibition as a sounding board. Hugo Cantegrel composes a rhythm on metallic surfaces welcoming voids and interlude. A symphony made of naive, surrealist movements: Fig trees grow on tripods; Words fall down on the ground; Clouds shine loud; And turn into flowers.
Facing these arrangements of figures and signs draws me into a game of interpretation. It makes me reflect on and question the ways we build ourselves and write our stories in a world where ever-rising and opposing flows of visual, discursive and metaphorical representations both connect and crush us.
Do you dream the dreams of others? Do you have dreams? Do you write them when you wake up? Do you tell them as stories? Do you sometimes confuse them with memories? Do you archive memories? Do you print photographs? Do you buy souvenirs? Do you confuse collection and accumulation? Do you suffer from archive fever? Do you own a storage? Is your cloud full? What story have you been told? Do you believe history repeats itself? Do you believe? Do you pray? Do you feel good for nothing? Do you post about it? Do you use filters? What’s on your feed? What do you share? What story do you tell? Are you the main character? Who’s your love interest? Would you like to dance? What’s your most played song? Do you tell people? Do you use lyrics as mantras? Do you remember your first kiss? ‘Do you remember? Never was a cloudy day.’