Marc Desgrandchamps is one of the first painters to have renewed figurative painting in France. With scraps of memory and chance happenings, he creates unclear situations, a no-man’s-land where one can never predict what the outcome might be. The pieces in his possession have no identity (figures, objects, landscapes) : « I set them in a certain light and they become exhibits », he says. Things disappear – bodies, more or less truncated, or cut through by the landscape – but this is quite reversible : things "appear" also. He call these "abandonments" in an attempt at naming what sometimes looms in the pictures, a sort of state between life and death that can be portrayed in painting, so long as it constitutes a trace. Marc Desgrandchamps also notes that hidden images sometimes appear involuntarily : « Fluidity is a state of instability, of no-control that occasions a sort of lack of control of the shapes. Transparency, with the superimpositions it produces, also reinforces this state and determines these visual disturbances, which exist in the same sense as memory or speech disturbances. »1
In his paintings of ghostly bodies and fragmentary objects set in scenes where time seems to have stood still, Marc Desgrandchamps offers us a disturbing image of a world about to implode. The paintings somewhere between figurative and abstract have an enigmatic quality. His works draw on pictorial, photographic, cinematographic, literary and musical themes. With their play on transparency and superimposition, the intense colours and the carefully controlled composition produce a disquieting effect. His works force us to look more closely at the image. The spectator is then invited to fill in the gaps and ellipses, and reconstruct the story taking place "off screen".
1.Marc Desgrandchamps, “Formal Slips”, Interview by Jeanette Zwingenberger, Art Press, May 2009, pp.97-99.
Exhibition catalogue :
« Marc Desgrandchamps », Essay by David Cohen, published by Zurcher Studio, NY, 2009.
David Cohen is an art historian and critic. Contributing editor of the late New York Sun, now publisher of the online magazine, artcritical.com, David Cohen is also gallery director at the New York Studio School, and a freelance lecturer, moderator and curator.
Marc Desgrandchamps (born1960)
Solo shows (selection) : Galerie Zürcher, Paris (2008) / Le Creux de l’Enfer, Thiers / Musée Baron Martin, Gray (2007) / National Museum of Modern Art (Espace 315), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2006) / Kunstmuseum, Bonn ; Galerie Zürcher, Paris (2005) / Musée de l’Abbaye Sainte Croix, Les Sables d’Olonne (2004) ; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Strasbourg (F) (2004) ; La Chapelle St Jacques, St Gaudens (F) (2004) ; Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC), Lyon (F) (2004)
Group shows (selection) : Propos d’Europe 7.0 - Paris Budapest, Château Karolyi, Fehérvarcsurgo, H (2008) / La Force de l’Art 01, Grand Palais, Paris (2007) ; Hommage à Jean Guyot, Hippocrène Foundation, Paris (2007) / Pulse Art Fair (Galerie Zürcher), 69th Armory, New York (2006) / Singuliers, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Guangdong (China) ; My Favorite Things, Musée d’art contemporain (MAC), Lyon (2005) / Supernatural, Galerie Zürcher, Paris ; Seltsam Vertraut, Saarland Museum, Sarrebrücken (Germany) ; De leur temps, Museum of Fine Arts, Tourcoing (F).
Public Collections (in Europe) : National Museum of Modern Art (MNAM), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris ; Museum Frieder Burda, Baden Baden (Germany) ; European Patent Office, Den Haag (Holland) ; Museum of Modern Art, City of Paris (MAMVP) ; National Art Fund (FNAC), Paris.