Ernest Pignon-Ernest was born in Nice in 1942. He studied in his hometown and first worked in architecture. From a very young age, he regularly has solo exhibitions. Very quickly, the artist becomes interested in the city and produces, over a course of time, numerous urban interventions that bring him notoriety.
Pignon-Ernest commits himself, he chooses the city, out of challenge or necessity, permeates all aspects to the extreme (drawing, photography, etc) will immerge into history and the legend. It will be Le Cap in Nice in 1974 at the occasion of the twinning of the city that he rejects ‘Rimbaud’ in 1978 and it will be Naples in 1988 that will offer him its brutal light and its stubborn past, Soweto, its engagement against apartheid. He founds ‘Artists of the World Against Apartheid’ with Antonio Saura and Jacques Derrida. Outside of the merchant circles, Pignon-Ernest glues large silk-screen paintings on the walls of the cities that he intervenes where … the telephone cabins of Paris as ‘these are places that reflect the city’. Fascinated by the first gestures of prehistoric Man, he produces ‘Les Arbrorigenes’ (The Aborigines trees) in 1984.
The artist likes to mix on paper the portraits of famous musicians, writers (‘Tête a Tête’ in 1997 with Antonin Artaud) or poets. Pignon-Ernest pays tribute. Will he intervene in New York or in India or elsewhere? Always wanting to open the eyes of the spectator to look at misery, poverty, immigration, racism, epidemics (South Africa again in 2001-2002 with Aids). His art, often ephemeral, has meaning.
Ernest Pignon-Ernest has never understood art, his art, incorporates a total engagement: political, poetic, plastic. His work is found in numerous international museums