Fabrice Hyber Public Works
Fabrice Hyber is the winner of a public commission by the new École des Beauxarts de Nantes. He plans to make two pieces, one to be installed in Nantes and the other at the French art school’s site in Marfa, Texas.
For Fabrice Hyber, who attended the Nantes art school, art is the most immediate way to broaden the range of the possibilities, intervening in forms and behaviors by mixing and matching not only techniques but also references, disciplines and skill sets, always seeking the exception that proves the rule. His imagination calls up the most diverse themes, such as comfort and genetic manipulation, the future of our species and adaptation, migratory flows and the globalized economy, energy resources and immortality, gleefully hooking up fields of knowledge that seldom mingle, with an openly admitted probability of error that becomes productive when it goes from one field of knowledge to another, less expected domain. Hyber seizes the creative potential of these crisscrossed free associations. His experiments are clearly based on human experience but in the most accidental form following a deductive logic. As a defrocked scientist, he dismantles the real all the better to reconstruct it, taking apart the mechanisms of things and the physics of events, transforming this action into a demonstration, performative if possible. The two public commission pieces planned for the new Nantes art school are component parts of his overall mission to absorb and subvert.
NANTES: THE HOUSE OF POFS
To be located in the heart of a reconverted industrial building formerly used for shipbuilding, Hyber proposes a flagship, simultaneously a vessel and a passenger compartment. This aerodynamic, isotropic ship that can move up and down and over and under is a visual metaphor for a nonoriented apprehension of things, inviting visitors to rethink the functional uses attributed to objects. It’s also a passenger compartment in that this sculpture will be a resource site where people can experiment with the POF (Prototypes of Functioning Objects) he conceives as pretexts to shift the contemplative function of art to more behavioral approaches. More precisely, it will be a “house of Pofs,” simultaneously a conservatory and laboratory. Its circular structure is based on L’Escalier sans fin (Never-ending stairway, POF no. 100), and the ensemble of its configuration, inside and outside, deduced from various POF applications (approximately 160 so far). Visitors to this house will author their own adaptation to this environment by means of the empirical and playful experience, often unstable and undefined, of a cabin whose uses are multiple and open-ended, a cockpit for test flights into the real and its multiple possible improvements beyond systems of relations calibrated in advance.
MARFA: THE ALIEN FOUNTAIN
Nomen omen, the name is an omen. The artist adopted the pseudonym Hyber in 2005, dropping the final T from his original family name to produce “HYBERT sans T/HYBER Santé” (Hyber without the T = Hyper-Healthy). This hyperbolic patronymic signals art’s ability to resist any and all forms of resignation. For the Nantes school’s Marfa center, located in the vast open spaces of the American West, he chose to erect an iconic structure that will clash mightily with the local landscape. Not a suspended vessel this time, but a giant fountain dominating the site of the new school. The sculpture takes the anthropomorphic silhouette of a green giant, revisiting, on a monumental scale, Hyber’s L’Homme de Bessines, a sculpture installed in a small town in the Poitou region, that squirts water out of all of its orifices (eyes, mouth, penis, etc). For Marfa, Hyber decided to rescale this piece, making the man several meters high, rivaling the famous water tower overlooking the city. He will be made of a recently patented special concrete absorbing part of the local soil (sand, used earth, accumulated debris). This recycling is itself a kind of response to the constraints imposed by the anthropocene, in which nothing can be wasted and everything has to be reused. The figure will then be painted green, Hyber’s signature color, emblematic of “mental ecology,” making it look like an alien, a trope that has particular resonance in this city not far from Roswell, where an incident during the Cold War was later said to be a case of a crashed UFO carrying extraterrestrials. But rather than announcing the threat of an alien invasion, this monument will spray water and mist over the surrounding area and thus create an oasis in the desert, integrating new flora and fauna in a biotope open to all sorts of dodgy contacts between species and spaces. This iconoclastic gesture is meant to point to both the consequences of the posthuman turn our times have taken (the end of an anthropocentric world) and the empirical solution (the fountain will also be a reservoir), autonomous resources favorable for a selfmanaged reinvention of the landscape. Pascal Rousseau is a professor of contemporary art history at the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, specializing in the historic avant-gardes and the beginnings of abstraction, and the links between imaginaries, science and technology in contemporary culture (twentieth and twenty-first centuries).
Fabrice Hyber Né en 1961. Vit et travaille à Paris Expositions récentes : 2016 Cosa mentale. Les imaginaires de la télépathie dans l'art du 20e siècle, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz ; Ce que fait le printemps avec les cerisiers (Pablo Neruda), Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris ; L'Homme Éponge, MUP IDF, Bondy/Cachan/BoulogneBillancourt ; La Grande galerie du foot, Grande Halle de La Villette, Paris ; For an Image, Faster Than Light, Yinchuan Biennale, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Yinchuan, Chine