superzoom @ New Galerie, Charles Hascoët, Yuki_Snow_In_July
January 16 - January 30, 2021
2 rue Borda, 75003
On the occasion of his invitation by the New Galerie, superzoom presents a solo exhibition by Charles Hascoët: yuki_snow_in_july. The project consists of a series of small oil paintings reproducing "from photo" the Instagram publications of a cat: yuki_snow_in_july. Instagram has seen the emergence of a set of memes, selfies, trends tending to the promotion of everyone by themselves. Among the paradoxical successes of this 2.0 diffusion: cats.
In a certain tradition of portrait painting, the series is based on biographical elements of the artist and the model. Three years ago, Charles Hascoët gave Marion Dana, who runs the New Galerie, a small white cat named Yuki. Like many cat owners, Marion Dana chose to create an Instagram account for her cat.
Marion Dana is part of a "cultural" tradition of cat people: authors, musicians, gallery owners... whose cats have during the 19th and 20th century been more or less claimed and displayed: on a desk, during an interview. The way cats slip into private, public, sentimental - or just narrow - spaces is well known. Yuki finally slipped into the gallery. Charles Hascoët places himself in the context of the commissioner's portrait, this one being at the same time the subject and the object of the painting. But who is staging himself, who is flattering who, who sees himself in whom? Yuki in Marion in Charles? Or vice versa.
The compositions of the paintings take up the framings of Instagram photographs, relatively standardized, since the image is intended to be "readable" on the screen of a cell phone. The artist continues this game of transpositions: he titles the paintings by taking up the captions of the account, hashtags and emojis included.
The rare times when a human appears in Charles Hascoët's paintings, it is "cut", we do not see his face. Like the animal visions of Tom and Jerry cartoons, where the only aspects of the owner are his slippers, as a punctual reminder to reality.
The whole series was painted during Covid lockdown, the artist's studio work finding an echo in the "idleness" of an owner with only his cat to occupy himself.
It seems that the presence of pets contributed to some improvement in the mental health of the population during this period of confinement. But the facing portraits of Yuki, Marion and Charles seem to evoke rather the questions of what to do with oneself (and one's cat).