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Sans titre

©François Lauginie

Sans titre, 1997

Didier Marcel
  • Artist (1961)

A “re-maker” is how Didier Marcel describes himself.  He observes the world surrounding us, from small objects to the city, in order to recreate a paradoxical image of it, somewhere between model and copy.  His early works in plaster swiftly showed a liking for architecture and hollow forms.  Models of houses set on pedestals or on the ground play on ratios of scale and materials, contrasting the plaster and the craftsman-like production with an often more industrial aspect of the medium.  The issue of the method of production and presentation in all its forms thus becomes recurrent in the artist’s work, and is demonstrated by a carefully studied choice of display stands, shelving, and even floor covering.  Architectural maquettes, installations, drawings and furniture are in every instance artifacts.  As three-dimensional images of objects relieved of their reality, his sculptural works, which in some cases incorporate motors and thus motion, bring in an interplay of never-ending references between the natural and the artificial, architecture and non-architecture, landscape and non-landscape, the domestic and the public.  Didier Marcel’s approach is thus focused on the idea of opposition or contrast which, for him, consists in removing from their context commonplace elements, in order to re-introduce them into the museum venue.  It is the case with all the pieces which reinstate natural fragments, which are re-created with synthetic materials (Untitled (Labours), 2006; the series of maquettes Demolitions, embarked on in 1992).  For Didier Marcel, the maquette is no longer a pre-visualization of a building in the offing, but becomes a modelling tool and a critical tool, the very opposite of banality.

Didier Marcel lives and works in Dijon.  He graduated with a DNSEP degree from the Besançon School of Fine Arts in 1985, then obtained a degree at Paris University I in 1987, and another degree at the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Visual Arts in Paris in 1989.  His work has been shown in major solo exhibitions (MUDAM, Luxembourg, 2009; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Strasbourg, 2006; MAMCO, Geneva, 2005).  He also presented an installation at the exhibition I Love Dijon, in 2001, and was selected for the Lyon Biennale in 2003 and La Force de l’Art 02 at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2009.  In 2008, he won the International Contemporary Art Prize awarded by the Prince Pierre de Monaco Foundation, and was nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp in that same year.

Nadine Labedade