French painter Philippe Cognée was born in 1957.
He lives and works in Nantes
He has been exhibiting at galerie Oniris since 2016

Essentially known for his encaustic paintings, Philippe Cognée's work is much richer and more complex, as his works on paper show. One finds in these papers a style all his own, almost a signature that the artist offers, in colour as well as in black and white, charcoal, wash, ink, watercolour or even encaustic.

I start from a realistic painting to end up with a painting of illusions, from which realism escapes.

Philippe Cognée has been using encaustic since the 1980s, but it was during his visit to Rome in 1990, where, as a Villa Medici laureate, he perfected his unique technique. In search of a smooth surface, Philippe Cognée combines photography and painting. Photography, or the image, serves as a starting point, a subject, a model and is reproduced in painting by the artist because it offers wider possibilities of interpretation.


Encaustic is a wax painting applied directly to the canvas. Once the "first step" is completed, the artist lays down a plastic film that he will melt to the material of the canvas using an iron. This singular gesture erases the lines of the painting and abandons the figurative side of the work in favour of a blurred burying of the subject.


Moreover, although his paintings are widely distributed, Philippe Cognée's work can also be observed on paper. Using different techniques, such as watercolour, coal and charcoal, or even wax paint, his works on paper echo the canvases in their subject matter, but offer a different reading of the work, due to the medium and technique used.


Generally speaking, his work questions the role of painting in a society where the image is omnipresent and impoverished, a direct consequence of the multiplication of new technologies. The subjects he treats in series, like the bars of buildings, carcasses in slaughterhouses, supermarkets or Google View, are not a transcription of reality, but rather a transcription of society into symbolic forms.


Philippe Cognée has produced many portraits and self-portraits, but architecture remains the major theme of his work. In his canvases, works on paper and prints, buildings and other streets have an important place. Similarly, since the 2000s, the theme of the consumer society has occupied a notable place, as evidenced by the series of supermarkets or slaughterhouses.


2024 : Abbaye Espace d'art contemporain, Annecy, France

2023 : La peinture d'après, Musée Bourdelle, Paris, France

Philippe Cognée, Musée de l'orangerie, Paris, France

Le réel sublimé, Musée des Beaux Arts, Le Mans, France

2021 : Chapelle de la Visitation – Espace d’art contemporain, Thonon les Bains, France

2020 : Paysages, Chaumont-sur-Loire, France

2018 : Philippe Cognée, Johyun Gallery, Busan, Corée
Philippe Cognée, Espace Jacques Villeglé, Saint Gratien, France : 

2017 : Philippe Cognée, Baker McKenzie, Paris, France
La Matière remuée, Espace Paul Rebeyrolle, Eymoutiers, France

2016 : French Touch, Qrtspace Boan, Séoul, Corée
Philippe Cognée, Stephan Balkenhol, Fondation Fernet-Branca, Saint-Louis

2016 : Philippe Cognée – figures envisagées, Le Radar, Bayeux

2015 : FRAC Auvergne
Chapelle de la visitation, Brioude

2014 : Biennale de Busan, Busan, Corée du Sud

2014 : Château de Chambord

2013 : Vues d’en haut, Centre Pompidou Metz

2011 : Écho, Château de Versailles
French Window: Looking at Contemporary Art through the Marcel Duchamp Prize, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japon

2010 : C’est la vie! Vanités de Caravage à Damien Hirst, Musée Maillol, Paris

2009 : Passages, Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris

2006 : Institut Français de Berlin, Berlin, Allemagne

2005 : Nouvelle vague, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
Art Museum of Shanghai, Chine

2002 : Voilà la France, CESAC, Caraglio, Italie

2001 : Peinture, figures, peinture, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Manille, Philippines

1999 : trente artistes, 1969-1999, Assemblée Nationale, Paris

1996 : Albufeira, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes

1990 : Musée du Luxembourg, Paris

1987 : Les années 1980 en France : Une nouvelle génération d’artiste, festival d’Istanbul, Ankara, Turquie

1986 : Sélection de huit peintres français, PS1, New-York, États Unis

1985 : Biennale de Tours

1984 : ARC, Musée d’art Moderne de la ville de Paris, France



Installation shots
Works selection

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