Gauthier Hubert


October 14, 2004

Gauthier Hubert
U.S.A. U.S.E. U.S.

28 September - 23 October 2004

White Hall (St Luke)
(Witte Zaal – Sint-Lucas)
Posteernestraat | Ghent | Belgium.
from Tuesday to Friday 12.30 pm to 6 pm and Saturday 2 pm to 5 pm
info dirk.manesse [​at​]

The artist Gauthier Hubert (b. 1967) always bases his work on a finding (of an art historical nature) to provide his work with its vital social (and in this case also political) fuel. And there is nothing gentle about it either, quite the contrary in fact.

His U.S.A. U.S.E U.S. exhibition, which will be held from 28th September to 23rd October in the White Hall in Ghent, deals with the question of whether or not Rubens’ Negroes’ Heads is a political painting. By linking what in art historical terms seems a pedestrian idea to a whole series of burning current and socio-politically inspired statements, he takes the present American regime to task.

The constant countering of the concept of ‘The American Dream’ forms a thread that runs throughout the exhibition. In his paintings, drawings, and photographic and film work Hubert reveals a view, at times ironic and at times hilarious, of the obtrusive nature of Americanism in all its social, political and economic facets.

One example is the face of the greatest icon of Western pop culture, Michael Jackson, which he has brushed onto the canvas in shades of grey as a symbol of the shift of identity (unintentional?) from black to white under the influence of an excessive capitalism gone mad.

On the other hand, the photographic work entitled Like father, like son is a seemingly disarming, but nevertheless bitingly ironic interpretation of the present Bush dynasty: two big bushes stand a little too snugly side by side on a slightly too perfect lawn.

However, this diversity of form and content in Gauthier Hubert’s work by no means signifies that he lapses into the noncommittal. On the contrary, as the title U.S.A. U.S.E. U.S. suggests, each work on show is subordinate to the larger whole.

The presence of this all-embracing idea is especially evident in Hubert’s film, in which he presents us with a president who advocates the installation of the United States of Art (U.S.A.), the United States of Esthetic (U.S.E.) and the Urban Services (U.S.).
Nevertheless this all-embracing, apparently utopian idea, on which Gauthier Hubert bases part of his work, is not without the necessary irony: the film ends with a mushy Hollywood-type.

In Hubert’s work therefore, the idea is simply an ironic means that sanctifies an aim, which is the dismantling of the mechanism behind such ideologies as patriotism, unification, excessive capitalism and a lust for power.

A salient detail is the fact that his U.S.A. U.S.E. U.S. exhibition will open in the heat of the American election campaign.

Gauthier Hubert was honoured in the Young Belgian Painting Prize in 1999. He exhibited in the Kunst Nu space at SMAK in Ghent in 2002, and earlier this year gave a one-man show at the Living Art Museum in Reykjavik in Iceland.

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October 14, 2004

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