Alpha and Christopher Mason were both born in the UK in 1964. Soon after their meeting in London in 1983, they began to collaborate creatively in several disciplines. In 1986, they married and, shortly after, their visual projects consolidated around drawing, a medium to which they'd both been devoted since their teenage years; they named their artist duo "Hipkiss". In 2001, they emigrated to France and settled, five years later, on a nature reserve in the rural south west of the country, where they continue to live and work.
Eschewing a formal art education, the couple chose to pursue university studies in subjects such as mathematics, political geography, sociology and media production, all of which inform their artistic universe to this day. They share a fascination with ornithology, entomology, architecture - the beautiful, the industrial - and a deep concern for the environment which dates from their meeting within the animal rights movement.
The goal of the duo is above all to create aesthetic landscapes while largely limiting their palette to monochrome. In so doing, they have dedicated their career to a profound exploration of the possibilities of their chosen media. The silver ink often applied underneath graphite enhances its reflective qualities; alone, it provides a counter-texture. Metallic leaf is used to bejewel the works; foils and touches of colour are sometimes added to draw the eye. However, the ultimate purpose of this supporting cast is only to highlight and showcase the star of the show: the humble pencil.
Hipkiss' works are characterized by a meticulous yet anarchic style, echoing the push-pull of the creative relationship between two individuals in symbiosis. Their themes revolve around the inevitable meeting of elemental pairs and the power play that results: human-made versus nature, feminine forces versus masculine, democracy versus authoritarianism. Under the artists' lens, these conjunctions, fraught with potential antagonism, are snapshots in time in which any conflict becomes crystallized and visible. Look harder and the work reveals the inherent creative process: the drawings are not the result of a solitary reverie, but rather perceptions of our world as it is, between shared visions and reality.
Hipkiss is represented in various collections around the world, including the FRACs Picardie and Occitanie, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, John Michael Kohler Art Center, Cindy Sherman, Rudolf Zwirner, Antoine de Galbert, Kupferstichkabinett and The Whitworth.
A two-time recipient of aid from the DRAC Occitanie and a four-time winner of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, Hipkiss has been exhibited internationally, notably at the following institutions: The Drawing Center, La Maison Rouge, David Zwirner, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, La Caixa, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Tate Britain, Whitechapel and New Museum.
'Hipkiss' is the pseudonym of Alpha and Christopher Mason, once known collectively as 'Chris Hipkiss'.