Alexandre d'Huy: Blindés

Solo show

About the exhibition
Grid view
Cross black


by Barbara Polla & Nicolas Etchenagucia

War machines, secular companions of mankind

Armoured vans, military trucks, tanks, drones, machines of destruction.

The young Parisian painter Alexandre d’Huy depicts the protagonists of war as we rarely see them—on the ground. In this series, began in 2014 and premiering on Collectionair, the artist uses the portrait format with a tight framing, resulting in the aestheticization of these destructive masses—masses that seem autonomous as no human figure is detected. Certain paintings are almost pixelated, aerial views from the eye of technology, a perspective impossible for man to experience—blending rural landscapes into a form of camouflage. The paintings of the artist reach to the core of the issue of war, cold but possessing a rich texture in an abstract language. Alexandre d'Huy paints ghostly landscapes that highlight reality and surpass it boundlessly.

When viewing these paintings, we feel an intense irony; our feeling is ambiguous—hanging between a disgust for war and the realization of an apparent beauty in the images of these vehicles. With a certain cynicism, the artist indeed highlights the seductive aspect of these killing machines, the attractive force of power than borders arousal. He raises the question of censorship in the Western press, but also the willingness of governments to wage “clean” wars, or at least the willingness to offer media coverage of field operations without showing scenes of combat, with neither causalities nor disasters. The work reflects the notion that globalization produces deep fractures capable of degenerating new wars, and this series is sadly relevant in the current social climate in France, where the treat of terrorism and violence lurks beneath the surface of everyday life.

June 2016

About the curator

Barbara Polla is an independent curator, a writer and currently a gallery owner. She has also been an elected politician for twelve years in Switzerland, and an MP from 1999 to 2003. Whether in politics, in art or in writing, she commits herself to promote freedom: freedom of thought, expression and movement, for all individuals, whenever possible. As a curator and gallery owner, Barbara Polla often shows unconventional artworks, creates projects in which she involves both renowned artists and emerging talents and aims to discover, show and promote hidden and uncanny beauty. Barbara Polla works with a number of projects, and whenever she embraces one, she will explore it intellectually, artistically, in collaborations and as a writer. Her current projects include art & prison; art & science, liking memory and video art; and gender issues.

She has always been interested in the power of difference and diversity, of “reverse thinking”, of challenging stereotypes, and is amazed by the energy generated by rupture, by getting out of frame, by “coming out”: uncanny Energy. 

Barbara Polla lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland; she has curated solo/group shows in Turkey, Lebanon, Australia and elsewhere, both in galleries and institutions. In parallel with this, she organises various cultural events such as Video Forever (screenings & conferences about video art, in collaboration with French curator & art critic Paul Ardenne) and Poetry Nights. She teaches creative and critical writing at HEAD Geneva, is an active blogger and publishes assays (on gender), books about art and personal fictions and poetry.