Hughes Dubois | Photographer

Hughes Dubois is a photographer at heart who has made a name for himself shooting statuettes, usually non-European.

He lives most of his time between Paris, Brussels and elsewhere. Because the greatest museums of ethnic arts require him to photograph their treasures.

So far, nothing to do, strictly speaking, with contemporary art itself. That said, at first glance, and probably a bit hastily. Because, when I don't know which photographer sets out, nowadays, to reproduce the pictures of Carl Evans' first masks, one says that he makes contemporary work and one promotes him as such.

A very contemporary photographer, shooting effigies with a new life, Dubois is no longer an ethnologist concerned with preserving an object that is in danger of disappearing.

It is necessary to look at his works to understand that this approach is not only original, but unique and important. It is not a work of observation but a quest for expression.

It is the culmination of an approach initiated in 1990 with his "Portraits of Songye Figures" which sums up more than thirty-five years of assiduous, complicit and personal quest: "to give life, to give a humanity to these sculptures of bygone times".

In the manner of a Soulages in love with luminous blacks, Dubois expresses the light that emerges from the depth of time. Because Dubois, in his quest, testifies, as Soulages with his blacks, of a dialogue between his models and him. It is also a fight with the matter put in naked.

Dubois expresses it very well: "The light makes it possible to connect the volume to the light. The lighting is essential, as in a Bob Wilson piece. In the case of the statuary, it brings a reading of the relief, far from being uniform.

By tackling, as a contemporary photographer, the sculptures, Dubois pays homage to the cult of the ancestors, and realizes the highlighting of a common memory.

By Roger Pierre Turine - 2016

Art critic, exhibition curator and culture journalist for "la Libre Belgique"