The Chimerical Paintings and Sculptures of Marlène Mocquet

by Margot BuermannPosted on


Marlène Mocquet is a French artist whose chimerical paintings and sculptures portray strange worlds full of quirky, animated characters. Her surreal creations often have a sense of childlike whimsy and humor; other times, they turn dark and tumultuous, and verging on grotesque. The artist once described her fantasy lands to Le Petit Journal as “a separate universe in perpetual construction.”


Her paintings are also characterized by their mixture of unusual mediums, including hair glue, melted wax, sequins and fishing lures. More conventional materials, such as oil and acrylic paints, are incorporated to create these mixed-media artworks.


Mocquet’s creative process thrives on “provoked accidents” such as ink stains and markings, which ultimately give direction to what a particular piece will look like. The artist rarely enters a project with a preconceived notion of what the outcome will be. Instead, she focuses her attention on forging relationships with her abstract components to create complex environments that feed off the energy of their inhabitants. Despite the spontaneous nature of her work, recurring images such as food, animals, monstrous and hybrid creatures, and wide-eyed, humanlike figures are found throughout her work and help to connect her singular pieces.


Her ceramic, sandstone and porcelain sculptures help to bring the worlds rendered on her canvas to life, and often mimic the thickly layered, “dripping” aesthetic of her paintings:



Mocquet was born in 1979 in Maison Alfort and currently lives and works in Paris. Since earning her visual arts degree from the Ecole Normale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, the artist has exhibited extensively in her native France. Her work is included in national and international collections, including Musée d’art contemporain in Lyon, Francois Pinault Collection and Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres. She’s even joined the likes of David Lynch and Jeff Koons in designing a set of custom plates based on her paintings for the porcelain brand Bernardaud.



Mocquet was featured in a solo exhibition at the Galerie Laurent Godin as part of the 2016 Armory Show in New York. At the time, curator Alain Berland wrote, “Mocquet’s work is perpetually in flux. Material and energy run through every facet of her paintings and sculptures. All is excitement, fright, pleasure, preciosity, allegory, balance, imbalance, construction and deconstruction. These divergent effects and strategies are synchronic, such that the work is at once contradictory and discordant, and coherent, its tensions methodically controlled.”



Current exhibitions include a group show at the Galerie Sens Interieur in Cogolin, France, on view through October 1. The artist is also slated to exhibit works at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris, beginning March 2017.



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