Hipkiss is the collective pseudonym of two artists: Alpha Mason (French/British) and Christopher Mason (British), both born in 1964. The duo first met in London in the early 1980s and have been working together ever since. They currently live in France.
Internationally renowned, Hipkiss see their work as an homage to nature, to birds, to insects. They approach their subjects using graphite and silver ink, creating hybrid compositions into tondos, circular artwork, often with a vertical « Tower » design. The precise and delicate nature of their drawings are reminiscent of botanical illustrations but also open to imaginative interpretation.
Passionate nature enthusiasts and keen ornithologists, they find inspiration in both floral motifs and fauna, in particular birds. Some of their influences include the work of Anne Atkins, Robert Hooke, Elizabeth Blackwell, Maria Merian, and Karl Blossfeldt.
Throughout their early career, they were known for detailed, panoramic landscapes, rendered in graphite and silver ink on paper. They recently expanded their palette with various metals and elements of color. A recent series of “Towers”—entitled Animaux fabuleux—were developed through a collaboration with Limoges porcelain artisans. Plant and insect type figures taken from the artists’ environment are woven into the drawing’s circular structures.
Hipkiss describe their “Towers” as offering a feeling of space, between and beyond the circles that set them apart from conventional compositions. This allows them to develop immense, modulable landscapes, inlaid with a multitude of nature details like larvae, flower heads, stigmas, and eggs.
Part of the artists’ project entitled, “Pit Land Against Sea” was exhibited at the Drawing Center in New York in 2018 with the title, Bulwark. This vast project addresses social conflicts related to gender, competing belief systems, climate and biodiversity versus capitalism. “Les Yeux s’ouvrent” is Hipkiss’s first solo exhibition in Switzerland. It showcases the different formats of their “Towers”, which already include early reflections on these thematic preoccupations.
Hipkiss is represented in the collections of FRAC Picardie, FRAC Midi-Pyrénées, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, John Michael Kohler Art Center, The Kupferstichkabinett, The Whitworth, Cindy Sherman, Rudolf Zwirner and Antoine de Galbert, among others. Their work has been shown at Tate Britain, Whitechapel, David Zwirner, The Drawing Center, La Maison Rouge, New Museum, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, La Caixa and The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. The duo lives and works in rural SW France.