The Mystery Behind Marc Giai-Miniet’s Cinematic Dioramas

by CaroPosted on

French artist Marc Giai-Miniet has been creating for over 50 years, and over that time has accumulated a variety of titles from hobbyist, painter, printmaker, draftsman, and a “pipe puller” of symbols. His never-ending large scale dioramas which he calls “boxes” are almost Escher like. They take us through theatrical stages of industrial rooms; dusty libraries, attics, and winding, nonsensical machinery. These creepy post-disastrous events or crime scenes are beautiful in their destruction, similar to Lori Nix (covered here). Pops of color guide the eye throughout, but with no relief of an exit. Upon close inspection, one can find human organs and tiny, flickering flames of cast iron ovens. Ovens and submarines are common motifs found on the bottom floors, often surrounded by burnt books. The concept of book burning has a long history, culturally motivated by moral, religious, or political objections to the material. In this cold environment, their burning also provides warmth.

In one piece, a large metal brain seems to power the entire scene through a series of tubes. The image recalls Pierre Jeunet’s The City of Lost Children– a film visually inspired by connectivity whose main antagonist was a brain living on an ocean rig. Jeunet used long uninterrupted shots to create a continuous narrative about cause and effect, much like Miniet. Miniet’s work has gone on to inspire his own films, such as Living Memories, shot in the décor of his boxes. Despite their gloomy emptiness, Miniet creates a visual experience that suggests a former life. This extends the work to the viewer’s imagination left to piece the mystery together.

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