NEW YORK—Although the collaborative French husband-and-wife team Virginie Pougnaud and Christophe Clark, known as Clark et Pougnaud, have been creating photographic digital images for ten years, Americans are getting their first look in 2005. The Palm Beach3 art fair (Jan. 14-17), the scene of their first exposure in the U.S., was arranged by the artists’ Parisian art dealer Esther Woerdehoff. It resulted in sales of four single images ($5,000 apiece) and three portfolios of nine images ($17,000 each).
In their collaboration Pougnaud (b. 1966), who by training is a painter, creates small-scale sets with human models that Clark (b. 1963) photographs and assembles into a single image within a computer.
The portfolios exhibited in Palm Beach recreated well-known paintings by American Edward Hopper; and other portfolios by the pair recall the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and the books Alice in Wonderland and Grimm Fairy Tales.
The artists generally work in small and large sizes, in edition sizes of nine for the small ($3,000 on average for each image) and six for the large ($5,000 on average for each image). In “The Wizard of Oz” portfolio, there are four images that sell for $25,000 as a set, or $6,600 per image, at the larger size (40-by-47 inches); and $12,000 per set or $3,800 per image, at the smaller size (20-by-24 inches).
Along with some collectors, the Chicago art dealer Catherine Edelman was taken by the work when she “stumbled upon it” at Palm Beach. “I just stood there in awe,” she told ARTnewsletter. “It’s the smartest body of work I’ve seen in ages.” On the spot, she asked dealer Woerdehoff to let her gallery give the artists a solo show in late spring. Slated to run in May or June, it is tentatively expected to include approximately 20 images.
In the interim, Clark et Pougnaud’s work will be displayed by Woerdehoff at the Scope art fair, New York, from March 11-14. Edelman also plans to exhibit their work at Art Chicago, which runs from April 29-May 2.