‘Fabrice Hyber & the Meaning of Life’, Juliette Wallace, δημοσίευση CLOT Magazine [13/12/2022]
Fabrice Hyber is unique; artist, mathematician, entrepreneur, environmentalist and irrepressibly positive lover of life, Hyber has made a career of combining seemingly incompatible fields in honour of creation and education. This week his long-awaited solo show at the Foundation Cartier in Paris opened to an audience of all ages. The show takes the guise of a classroom in which artworks replace blackboards. Hyber’s desire to impart knowledge and provide both questions and solutions for future generations is a theme throughout his oeuvre, and so this didactic setup is wholly appropriate.
In honour of his desire to share knowledge, Hyber has created a space at the Foundation Cartier in which the visitor can expect to be invited into the artist’s personal, colourful and forever curious world, a place that the artist has developed as a realm for the pursuit of a meaning to life and to being human. “Create and love life!” is Hyber’s primary lesson to his visitors, something that he has practised since his youth.
Having begun studying science and mathematics, Hyber enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he honed his artistic style and system, developing a distinctive, cross-disciplinary approach. He found himself drawn to the creative world through being introduced to the concept of finding non-mathematical methods to understand seemingly impossible mathematical equations. During the time when I studied mathematics, I saw some contemporary art and I was sure that I couldn’t only do mathematics… I was studying very abstract areas of mathematics, like topology, and in these areas it was clear that to understand you had to invent a fiction – an image – to comprehend the complexities of the equations. I liked this idea of using another way of thinking than pure mathematics. From this experience and introduction to alternative approaches to what had previously presented themselves as closed-off, autonomous fields, Hyber employed new and complementary ways of thinking and developing, both in his artistic methods and his other pursuits.
The term ‘artistic method’ is particularly appropriate for an artist like Hyber, whose works are somewhere between a petri dish and a mathematical equation – they are living spaces in which questions are both answered and posed, and the natural, organic progressions of life take control. Through what he calls his “non-interventionist” approach to painting, Hyber, in his own words, opens the door to all possibilities, a scary prospect for a mathematician working in realms in which control is sought after and held onto tightly. I am putting myself in danger, says Hyber, but in doing so, he also allows the new, the unexpected, to emerge, which results in, as he humorously states, both beautiful and ‘blehhh, a bit trash’ paintings depending on what comes out.
The painting method itself consists of 3 main elements: water, oil paint and time. Hyber describes how he leaves and returns to his canvases over periods, letting both the uncontrolled, unseen work its magic as well as his own mind to work and rework the concept of the piece from a distance. When I’m making a painting, it grows like the trees grow in the valley. When I work on my paintings I don’t only work on 1 canvas; I work on 100 canvases at the same time. My walls are full of paintings and drawings. It’s like a laboratory. Through using very thin layers of oil paint, watered down and applied with gestural ease, Hyber encourages the power of transformation, relieving the medium from its traditional role as permanent and fixed and giving it a new identity.
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