Critics’ Picks

View of “Marine Hugonnier: Travel Posters,” 2020.

View of “Marine Hugonnier: Travel Posters,” 2020.


Marine Hugonnier

Ingleby Gallery | Barony Street
33 Barony Street
February 1–March 28, 2020

Marine Hugonnier’s new works, shown in multiples, initially read as simple facsimiles of elegant advertisements from a well-known 1971 Pan Am rebranding campaign designed by Yvan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar and shot by Magnum photographers: alluring pictures of Argentine sunsets, the Hawaiian surf, and a South American rainforest overlaid sparingly with Helvetica type. The people shown in these large-format C-prints are backlit and anonymous: This could be you. A closer look reveals distortions and dips in resolution, variations in texture and hue resulting from a process in which Hugonnier printed different digital versions of the posters from the internet, tracking their virtual journeys by recording the where and when of their uploading, as in Pan Am Hawaii / Housed in Palo Alto, California - 06.09.2015, 2019. These flaws not only undercut the idyllic promise of the ads, but trace a shift from analog to digital, from the romance of air travel to ecological anxiety, staking out Hugonnier’s fascination with “the climate and temporality of an image.”

A trio of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century oil paintings—two idyllic landscapes and a pomegranate still life, all accompanied by pre- and post-restoration condition reports—is included alongside the prints. Like the Pan Am pictures, these minor paintings are transient documents of leisure from another era. The reports outline corrections to irregularities, tears and stains, the effects of time. Although the two series are each other’s inverse––the prints diminished occurrences of an original, the restored paintings apparent returns to form––both speak to the loss of an ideal or uncompromised subject, one unpicking the melancholy in pixilation, the other the opacity of paint.