To create “The Nutshell” Hugo Pernet got inspired by the vivacity of dreams enclosed in a domestic environment, encompassing the structure of individual subjectivity inscribed in a collective one, the artist points out aspirations that reflect our own desires and frustrations as a global society. Legendary creatures dialogue with unreal landscapes, sleeping villages, still lives and “ready-mades”.
The paintings in the exhibition were all created between 2020 and 2021, a period that marks the artist’s first explorations with the use of oil on canvas. Sizes vary between medium sized paintings and a series of smaller (to very small) formats. Hugo Pernet enjoys exploring the smaller sizes, which emphasize the very idea of perspective: a nutshell can contain a whole universe within them.
In French, the expression “Coquille de noix” (nutshell) became synonymous with smallness. This expression is also used to describe a playful activity for children to create boats out of those woody nut covers. This inventive exercise is also found represented in the works featured in the exhibition « The Nutshell ».
Each painting in the exhibition seem to come from the imagery of a single dream, presenting itself as part of a bigger scope from which one could infer a storyline, but which is only a way to underline the specific story of how the artist approaches the process of painting in itself: choice of colours, gestures, volumes, textures…
The unicorn in the room is embodied by a framed “ready-made” entitled “Unicorn (concorde)” (2020), a picture of the British–French supersonic passenger aircraft, « Concorde », an Air France Advertisement extracted from 1970s “Art Forum” magazine. Seen from above, our whole planet can be perceived as a small dot in the universe, a nutshell if you will. Since the time when the « Concorde » was flying over the skies the world hasn’t stopped being governed by the desire of mobility until today when a sanitary crisis, spread so quickly thanks to globalization, locks everyone within the limits of their own home.
“The Nutshell” explores the feeling of dissociation. That feeling, we all have experienced, of waking up in the morning and not being able to believe in reality.