Ernest T.

Going under a pseudonym borrowed from a character in an American comedy show, Ernest T. is a French artist whose work is in line with Dadaism and the Incoherents. His oeuvre, takes a swipe at the heavily coded and overwhelmingly serious world of contemporary art, in a subversive and conceptual manner. Through the use of misappropriation, image manipulation and even plagiarism, enhanced by linguistic games and caricatured drawings, the artist examines the world of art from the perspective of its moral turpitude, greed and other pretentions.

Ernest T. began his artistic experimentation in the 1960s with a collection of small, comic calendars, which eventually ended up as a series under the name Dessins français (French Drawings). During the 1980s, he created his pseudonym and began to work on his well-known series Peintures nulles (Useless Paintings), which he envisaged as ‘Painting Degree Zero’. In reaction to the phenomenon of the idolization of the artist, which valued the signature more than the work itself, Ernest T. produced a number of paintings where his signature took over the whole canvas. These works followed a protocol in which capital ‘T’s, painted in three primary colors, dovetail with each other in the manner of Penrose tiling, where letters of the same color never touch each other. These narcissistic arrangements are integrated into offbeat sketches that mock the legitimization processes of art as well as other practices linked with the signature of a work, its authenticity, its hidden meanings, etc.

Ernest T’s works are included in the collections of the Musée national d'art moderne - Pompidou Center (FR), the CNAP, Paris (FR), the MAMCO in Geneva (CH), the IAC Villeurbanne and numerous regional contemporary art centers across France.