Using polaroids and photographs from his personal archives, Philippe Cognée takes places that have long been empty and depicts them on canvas: a hotel room, a table set for a special meal, the corner of a library, an unmade bed. Lying somewhere between still life and abstraction, these reconstructed memories question the relationship between painting and memory. The artist pursues his demonstration of the power of painting and its capacity to transcend the everyday. In doing so, he seeks to revitalize the image itself, drained of meaning in a society where it is used to excess.
For over twenty years, Philippe Cognée has been exploring ordinary aspects of life – motorways, suburban houses, supermarkets, anonymous streets found on Google Earth – to paint a singular portrait of this world of ours, a disturbing and poetical portrait.
Philippe Cognée was born in 1957 in Nantes, France, where he lives and works. A Villa Medici’s laureate in 1990 and nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2004, Philippe Cognée taught at the Paris Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts until 2015.
His work has been exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions, including in 2006 at MAMCO in Geneva and 2007 at FRAC Haute-Normandie. In 2011, he inaugurated a public commission, Echo, for the Château de Versailles. In 2013, the Musée de Grenoble held a major retrospective of his work which travelled to Dôle, and he took part in the Vues d’en haut exhibition at Centre Pompidou Metz. In 2014, he exhibited his work at Château de Chambord, in 2016 at the Fondation Fernet-Branca de Saint Louis, and in 2017 at the Espace Reyberolle in Eymoutiers.
His work features in a variety of renowned art collections, such as at the Musée National d’Art Moderne - Centre Pompidou and Fondation Cartier in Paris and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.