Pentateuque installation in Hong Kong, 2013.
While much of art deals with vulnerability and fear on a symbolic level, Fabien Merelle’s drawings and sculptures lay out the artist’s insecurities and nightmares for all to see. Using himself as his chief protagonist, Merelle depicts himself either naked or in his pajamas (reminding us that all of the strange things he shows us are occurring in his dreams). Still, when perusing his body of work, one picks up on allusions to the anxieties that haunt many of us at night.
One of the most significant pieces in his oeuvre, Pentateuque, shows a struggling Merelle balancing an elephant on his back. Created in three iterations — a drawing, a small-scale sculpture and an enormous public art installation in Hong Kong, 2013 — the piece suggests the pressures we feel to perform various roles. Other pieces show Merelle as the protector of an infant or seeking shelter from gigantic, maternal-looking women, alluding to the idea of healing one’s inner child. While many of the works are much more surreal, they echo with similar notes of tension experienced in a worrisome person’s sleep. Merelle has a solo show currently on view at Praz-Delavallade in Paris through May 17. Take a look at a selection of Merelle’s recent work below.
Scale model of Pentateuque.
Installation view of Fabien Merelle’s current show at Praz-Delavallade in Paris.