YVES HAYAT belongs to that category of creators who have something to say and who says it with such talent that they stamp their impression on the art of our time. His works, modern, contemporary, are however the product of a deeply classical culture. Thanks to all the techniques which belong to our time: photography, superimposition of images, printings on contemporary materials, etc. he creates an original work rooted in the human cultural heritage but which, through the strength of its subjects, conveys every dimension of our era.

Through a strictly artistic approach, YVES HAYAT expresses a philosophical thought, not in complicated words but by speaking to our senses, in a clear way. He presents the essence of our human condition and of our time, bringing out its distinctive characteristics and its violence.

Approaching different themes, with different techniques, he de-compartmentalizes moods, styles, references and representations: a man of the advertising world, totally and deeply an artist, a man in his own right, his creations embody his will to sublimate representative works by superimposing on them part of the “Réel” (Reality), a dimension of the symbolic and a breath of the imaginary (Lacan).

From pictorial masterpieces, timeless figures belonging to the collective memory but which he reworks, he invites us to discover powerful images born of the fundamental events which will make up the History of tomorrow, but which we regard as and make our own, without thinking about it, like being part of an everyday violence, banal, accepted unconsciously, resignedly, even with abnegation. We receive them passively but in fact they imprint themselves on our mind, like a tattoo on a body, a trademark, a serial number. For we remain men of our time, stamped with the mark of its events.

Through the intervention of the “Beau Spirituel”, (for his works are beautiful), YVES HAYAT makes us aware of that which the mind registers without us being conscious of it. HAYAT is an individual going against the flow of contemporary disenchantment; denouncing the unacceptable, by virtue of art’s splendour he celebrates the wonder of a world which lives on despite the hybris1 ravaging our time.

The originality of his works lies in the amalgam of artistic perception with the images from a communication and information based society. The titles he gives to his works, utterly high jacked advertising slogans (Les icônes sont fatiguées, Business must go on, Parfum de Révolte, Femmes au bord de la Crise de Guerre,… 2), have the effect of giving a meaning to the pollution of our everyday lives. They reveal our identity and display our own brand. Not a celebration of barbarity, but rather the fascination created by human ambivalence, by the confrontation between Eros and Thanatos in a combat worthy of the gods.

HAYAT’s work goes beyond a mediocre analysis to flush out what remains precisely “human, too human”. In reworking already known works, distancing their religious dimension, or in composing a new representation of our reality through images of the violence become everyday, he is engaging in a sort of obsessional work on the great book of humanity, composing a sort of exegesis of the present.

W. Shakespeare writes in Macbeth (sc.5 act 5) that “life... is a tale, Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing”. Through his work, YVES HAYAT seems to be telling us rather that “life... is a story full of passion and strength, signifying everything”. He is thus suggesting a possible portrayal of the end of the 20th century and of the start of the 21st century.

Certainly, our era is marked by genocides, treachery, disrespect and odious crimes, yet there is beauty to be found. Looking at HAYAT’s works we are not grasped just by the vision of the abyss of the human condition but equally, even above all, we are grasped by the life instinct which frees itself, conveyed by the bodies, postures, installations represented, its transfigured translation, in spite of the suffering, the threat, the destruction. The guiding principle of his demiurgic work is, in reality, the hope in life that has more imagination than us.

His works are not sad, they are a romantic and romanesque reconstruction of everyday horror. It draws to it the eye of the artist who, while being of his time, is of all times.

It is for us not only to dream through the works of YVES HAYAT but also, and above all, to reassume the existential truth in accepting the idea that life is at once inseparably beautiful and awful, spiritual and mercenary, material and immaterial.

François Birembaux

1 Hybris : from the Greek, meaning excessiveness, violence caused by the passions

2 The icons are tired, Fragrance of Rebellion, Women on the edge of a War Breakdown




Originally from Egypt, Yves Hayat first developed his aesthetic sensibilities living in a country enriched with history and cultural diversity. Art was his first love. In 1956, after the Egyptian Revolution, Hayat left for France. For five years, he studied Art at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs of Nice.

In 1973, Hayat chooses to go into advertising and marketing, which led him to open his own agency. The creative trade captivated Hayat. His experience in the field also enabled him to discover and learn to use new forms of technology, and master his techniques. In the 1990s, equipped with those skills, he decided to return to art, rediscovering the old masters, photographing people, the streets, society products, museum paintings and recuperating magazine and web images, which are carefully classified. Hayat is a perfect example of his time: an open mind on society, its streets, its media, its internet. While running his successful advertising business, he starts to show his artwork in galleries.

Soon, his art practice took precedence over his profession, which he ended in 2002.
Although Yves Hayat does not consider himself a painter, photographer, or designer, he is widely known as a “plasticien,” an untranslatable French term that refers to an artist who puts the meaning of his work to the fore and uses all the various media
and techniques to express it.

Yves Hayat explains: «I admit that I’m more interested in manipulating reality than in recording it. My artwork, between photography, installation, and «Figuration Narrative,» proposes visions where theatricalization is a part of the project. I am a total visual consumer: I film, download, scan, retouch.... as the director of a new reality. Using superimpositions, shifts, and misappropriations, I confront past and present, beauty and horror, luxury and violence, indifference and fanaticism. Through a questioning about the art/politics/media relations, I try to conceive a critical artwork where the attraction for the culture of media, cinema and advertising shows through. Using modern techniques, my work proposes a report of what our history and our society have thought, generated, transformed, destroyed... while always keeping in mind that when the work of art creates unrest, it evacuates the common place».

Since 2006, Yves Hayat exhibited in solo shows in Paris, Vienna, Cologne, New York, Istanbul, Geneva, Brussels, Greece, Kuwait, Beirut, Monaco and London.

He has also exhibited within institutions such as Paris City Hall (solo show), Venice (Palazzo Bonvicini, Biennale 2013 - solo show - and Vitraria Glass+A Museum in 2014-2015), International Perfumery Museum of Grasse (Solo Show), Alliance Française of Montevideo (solo show), Docks of Marseilles (solo show), Sigmund Freud Museum Vienna, and Klosterneuburg Monastery Vienna...

He was also presented in several international art fairs: Art Miami, Scope Basel, Art Beirut, ArtFair Cologne, Contemporary Istanbul, Art Stage Singapore, Scope Miami, Art 14 London, India Art Fair, FotoFever Paris, and Art Miami New York.