Mathieu Mercier places his approach on the boundary of design and architecture, proceeding from a critical way of thinking about society’s modernist and consumerist programme: the standardization of products, goods and leisure culminates in an impoverishment of our tastes and desires. DIY, whose specific methods he adopts, combines the salvaging and hijacking of already existing objects. The standardized design of the consumer objects which he recycles to make new compositions plays on the phenomenon involving the appropriation of the modern aesthetic by industrial firms. Henceforth, there is a coming and going between artistic modernism and everyday consumption: in Drum’n Bass, for example, three objects—one red, one yellow and one blue—are set on a black shelf, with the whole thing obviously making reference to Piet Mondrian’s work Boogie Woogie. With Signal (d’après une construction spatial d’Alexandre Rodtchenko/based on a spatial construction by Alexander Rodchenko)(2003), he interprets the Constructivist artist’s work in toothpaste tubes. Mathieu Mercier thus uses many different symbolic references pertaining to any given object in order to multiply the possible interpretations of the work, a game of many meanings which is amplified by the different origins of the components.
Mathieu Mercier studied at the Ecole Nationale des Beau-Arts in Bourges and, at the same time, took a course at the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Arts Plastiques in Paris. He won the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2003, and has since taken part in many exhibitions: La Force de l’Art at the Grand Palais, Notre Histoire at the Palais de Tokyo in 2006, Airs de Paris at the Centre Pompidou in 2007, Plus de Lumière at the Kunstraum Alexander Bürkle in Freiburg in 2011, and the third De leurs temps show, marking the 10th anniversary of the Prix Marcel Duchamp at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Strasbourg in 2011. In 2007, a retrospective of his work was held at the City of Paris Museum of Modern Art/ARC.