Born in 1942 in Nice, Ernest Pignon-Ernest’s first artworks were created within the framework of socio-political criticism, attempting to promote images-in-context. He took the stand that a society of consumption “is opposed to the affirmation of fully developed human life”, and created a strongly accusatory iconography, focused on places marked by history: the centenary of the Commune in 1971, around Père Lachaise, Métro Charonne; reflections on the Chilean tragedy, expulsions, working conditions and other weighty topics. The spectacular Arbrorigènes (1984) was a poetic proposition about man in nature, a deployment of living sculpture that is both evolving and vegetal. His work shows graphic technique of rare mastery, used as a tool and as a vehicle, as a sign, deployed according to the site in an interaction between the visible artwork and the non-visible of memory, imagination and fiction. Rather than wanting to grasp at art history, an art free of citation, Pignon-Ernest has sought to “reinscribe history in a contemporary space”.
Too often inadequately characterised by critics who have not underwood his work and intentions, and who have limited his contribution to an immediate political commentary, the work of Ernest Pignon-Ernest in fact calls for serious reflection. Pignon-Ernest’s oeuvre can be considered a highly contemporary reflection that begins with “the dramas on which our culture is founded”.
Ernest Pignon-Ernest already collaborated with Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo by creating in December 1995 a new back-dropcurtain at the Opera of Monte-Carlo on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the company. For Jean-Christophe Maillot, he has designed the sets for Cendrillon (1999), La Belle (2001), Miniatures (April 2004) and Le Songe (2005). He has also worked on the most recent projects with the assistance of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo dancers G. Morlotti, E. Slepov, J.-C. Nelson and the principal dancer B. Coppieters.