Myriam Mechita: The Essential Medium of Life

by Nathan SpoorPosted on

We are delighted to present to you an artist of a very highly conceptual and intellectually challenging nature, one Myriam Mechita. This French born artist and art professor has been kind enough to take time out of her studio move to Berlin to indulge us in a bit of art rapport. Her unique approach as well as her acceptance of the artist as an omnipresent creative force is truly engaging, as are her curious and fascinating new works. We at the Fructose would like to acknowledge and thank Cristina Ayala of Bongout Gallery in Berlin for the amazing attention and assistance in helping us to communicate with this unique gift to the visual arena, as well as accommodating our fascination with photographic documentation of Mechita’s current body of work.


Myriam’s answers are translated from French to English by Christian “Meeloo” Gfeller and Cristina Ayala

Image de l’exposition au Centre d’Art le Micro Onde à Velizy Villacoublay.Courtesy Galerie Nosbaum et Reding à Luxembourg.

Hello Myriam, and thank you for taking some time out to speak with us and turn our viewers on to your interesting work. So tell us, where are you from and how did you come to be an artist or gallery figure?

Thank you! I was born in Strasburg, France, which is where I grew up and studied. I have a masters in multi-media from L’Ecole des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg, a licence in ethnology, and a masters in art education.

I always knew that I wanted to become an artist, even before I fully understood what that meant. I had my first studio in the basement of my parents’ house when I was 11 years old. Eventually I went to an art school, and 3 years after my graduation, the Strasburg Modern and Contemporary Art Museum bought two of my stitching pieces as well as a sculpture that was made out of pearls. A gallery deal came naturally afterward.

When did you notice your main drive to create come about , and what was that experience like?

For me, my creations arrive naturally through images or sensations. I shape my visions very precisely, and through the process of the material I see how to continue my work. I like to stand at contemplative distance. It is this visual experience that i like to play with.

Vue de l’exposition au Frac Basse-Normandie, 2008

Regarding the current work, how did you arrive at this exciting place and what statement are you bringing forth?

My work is starting to take on a more literary and sculptural direction. Allow me to explain myself… earlier on I had considered drawings to be my central focus. It was like the center of a spider web – a point where i could dissect my ideas and branch off into new understandings. Today, I explore my ideas with a variety of mediums which constantly open so many more doors. This way I find being much more dynamic, and dimensional.

A new creative period happened recently, which includes much more writing and sculpture. I have started to give rise to the animal sculptures, elevating them, giving the viewer more angles to look at. I am thinking about adjoining bodies too. The fact that I am decapitating again is new. I stopped for several years, but I feel it was too strong of a statement to let go completely.

Installation view: Fleischeslust: Carnal Desire, Bongout, Berlin 2009

Beyond your sculptural presentations, do you pursue any other creative forms?

My work is in periods. Each period is never really completed before the next one begins. I work on many pieces simultaneously, and the periods are always born out of each other. Creativity comes at all times, and I try to catch everything. Here are the creative forms I have worked with:

Drawing: My favorite territory to explore is still drawing. I draw mainly in sketchbooks, and the tension that appears in those sketches are vital to my creative process. I like the idea of global continuity as well as the strength of timelessness.

Film: Exhibitions are often the occassions for me to showcase the link or thread between each period. Entrer Dans la Nuit de la Nuit was an exhibition that showcased 3 years of work. We have a video documenting this period, which is currently in the editing process. The film is not the language I usually work with, so it was not obvious that i could do it. But I felt I had to take this challenge.

Ceramics: Ceramics have started to take on a level of importance in my work. Manufacture de Sèvres is an amazing company that has technicians who guide artists through the ceramic processes to show you what is possible. They help to bring ideas to life and with their help i figured was able to clarify my vision. This period that is beginning will be accompanied with paintings, resin sculptures and something to do with theater – but as of yet I do not know what. It’s a work in progress.

I enjoy experimenting with different mediums and surfaces. My approach to them is all the same. When I sculpt, I draw. When I draw, I sculpt. And writing is like sculpting a drawing.

Comme un rêve sur une chaise prêt a se pendre, Fleischeslust: Carnal Desire, Bongout, Berlin 2009

In your experience, does an art university degree or schooling make a large difference in the output of an artist?

I have spent 5 years in an art school as well as at an art university (this is very different in France and much more competitive). I am now an art teacher and I specialize in drawing. I teach the structure of thinking behind drawing. For me there is no typical path, everything is possible. I knew that I wanted to become an artist, even before I knew what that meant. It was evident for me that I took the art path and study art history and techniques. Because of this, my life was simpler and I was able to discover vital references that I would have never thought of or seen on my own.

When do you feel that the best ideas arrive, and how do you collect them?

I am not waiting for ideas to come. Rather, the periods are always recreating themselves or giving birth to the next idea. My universe constantly transforms itself and new sculptures and drawings are coming out of that.

I do not do sketches or roughs… I draw. And these drawings are essential to prepare the sculpture or the installation. The only time I would do a sketch is when I am explaining to someone one of my projects.

My work is fundamentally attached to sensation and my own experiences. My ideas are imposing themselves upon me, and it becomes my obsession to figure out how to bring them into reality. It is a puzzle or riddle that I must figure out and conquer. In fact, everything is in my head and the work is constantly present. My life is my art, my art is my life… they are seamless with one another.

Installation view: Fleischeslust: Carnal Desire, Bongout, Berlin 2009

Do world events or political happenings ever make impressions on your art?

No, I do not think so. Even though I am very attentive and aware to what is happening in the world around me. I live in the present, in my time. But I do not want my work to be a documentation of right now. I want it to be timeless.

Of course though, images and political happenings transform and effect me. They build who I am, like the World Trade Center collapsing, images from the Shoah, or the little girl agonizing in the mud.

Installation view: Fleischeslust: Carnal Desire, Bongout, Berlin 2009

At what point do you feel an object becomes “art” and transcends the mundane reality of its own materials?

I feel it happens all the time. I think I could manipulate anything into ‘art’. The idea of transforming material is always present in my creation. Some specific materials are present in my work and are almost part of myself. I am still not done with understanding them – glitter, pearls, and stitching needles – everything that shines. But when multiplied, these things becomes brilliant. I like this cumulative power.

ILa Décapitation de Saint Côme, Fra Angelico

What is the best experience you’ve had within the arts?

I do not think there is only one single experience. The best experiences are simply to be able to show my work. To do the work, being that it is so personal and then to have an exhibition in front of so many people is a very intense moment for me. It is the grand finale of several years of thinking and working. I am always surprised, because it is like these familiar forms I have come to know are finally given their own life. It is really bizarre. I find it fascinating.

My most vivid experience was as a child at my dentist office. I saw for the first time a calendar representing Renaissance paintings. This day is definitive for me, I saw La Décapitation de Saint Côme by Fra Angelico. This opened a new dimension in my life. It was the beginning of my life. There was so much beauty.

Since I have seen that painting in person at the Louvre in Paris, and it remains beyond my comprehension. I could not grasp the depth of intelligence behind this piece. I still do not understand it, and I go very often to see it. This painting is my root or foundation.

Installation view: Fleischeslust: Carnal Desire, Bongout, Berlin 2009

Have you ever wanted to create a work in or for another place, if so, could you please share that dream with us?

It is a question that makes me dream, it is very difficult to answer this questions because it opens so many new doors. This makes me think of a piece I wanted to produce on a couple (people). I wanted to tattoo two persons that love one another with a symmetrical drawing, so one could not be complete without the other.

As we close out our time together, what future plans are you working towards?

Today I am working on a new resin sculpture, which will look like an ice sculpture. I am also working on a stitching project for a show in Lille, France that will be in October 2009. I am doing alot of drawings that include eyes and have documented some of my reoccurring dreams. These, I will use as a base for a series of etchings at the end of the year.

Regarder le sol et se retourner “I’m still an animal” is the title of my next period. For this I am stitching, writing, filming, molding resin, and sanding.

Thank you Myriam, for your generosity of thought and time. We look forward to catching up with you whenever the time is ripe for your next unveiling!

-By Nathan Spoor

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