A BELLY BUTTON HOLE TO MAKE WISHES: 5 QUESTIONS FOR MARION VERBOOM


The sculptural work of Marion Verboom is based on the principles of assemblage and molding. Inspired by cultural history and mythology, Verboom unites architectural elements like columns or capitals, and minimalistic forms with organic shapes, fragments of the human body, and ornamental details.

In a very contemporary and inventive approach to the classical medium of sculpture, Verboom experiments with traditional techniques like plaster and bronze casting while juxtaposing a variety of materials like wood, clay, resin, or acetate. Besides the combination of different textures, the correlation between form and colour plays a particularly important role in Verboom’s works. Enriching materials such as plaster with pigments, the artist explores the influence of colours and light on the shapes.

Referencing the history of humanity as well as the medium of sculpture itself, Verboom creates her own archaeology through a rich and varied formal language that offers viewers open space for imagination. By adopting elements from various cultural contexts and different eras from ancient history until the present day, Verboom succeeds in wrapping up time and space in her works. In their new arrangement, these elements take on a universality that transcends time and cultural origin.

What role does architecture play in your works?
Volumes and the history of architecture are very seminal in my artistic practice. When I was a child, I grew up in a city, Le Mans, where the architecture of the Gothic cathedral was my favourite object in my surroundings. I could spend hours watching and fantasizing. Everything about it widened my imagination: gigantic volumes, stained glass, ornaments, stones, arches, even the Celtic menhir with a belly button hole to make wishes and displayed outside the cathedral. It was my sanctuary, not for the religious aspect, but for the reading of time and all the stories I could tell myself.

What space would you like to see your work exhibited in?
I would love to exhibit in the most neutral big cube ever. Then I could fancy building up temporal layers at my convenience and suiting my fantasy. I also love to create a never-ending column that could create an interesting echo inside a piece of XX century architecture.

What material is most interesting for you to work with?
Plaster is the white canvas of sculptors. It’s a versatile material. I use it to experiment, like an alchemist. I mix plaster with different charges and colours, and the moisture always creates interesting oxidations.

Plaster is also the material of my library of forms. I have been growing my own gypsotheque for years. Plaster moulding is an object from the archive. All the forms that I created with clay have been archived with plaster. It allows me to duplicate and match forms from the past and present. But I would define my practice as mixed media as I aim to merge heterogeneous materials (wood, ceramic, plaster, glass, metal, etc.) into one sculpture using the principle of stratum.

I have a predilection for materials that go from liquid to solid through catalysis or firing, because it’s a print of time. And lately, I am passionate about "pâte de verre", the casting of glass. It’s the perfect mix of my latest interest in ceramics and moulding. I always try to show up colours in the material masse, but with this "pâte de verre" material it’s pure colour translated by light into the masse. I am also fascinated by the history of the technique, which for a long time was lost. There is a time gap between the Phoenicians and the XIX century Art Nouveau craftsmen in which nobody knew how to make it.

How important is technical perfection for you?
Perfection hardly exists. But I try to reach it at least where there is a junction. Lately, I made an artwork named GLOYE where ceramic and lead-glass stand vertically on a wooden frame. During firing, ceramics shrink, while lead-glass does not. But I needed to insert ceramic into this lead-glass form; that was very technical! Setting up a transparent piece vertically is another problem to solve because you don’t want to see the attachment. But all those technical issues were very interesting to think about and drove me to the creation of GLOYE. It’s almost a piece of horology. I enjoy this mechanism of creation. To me, perfection looks like something created without toil or gravity.

What are your hopes for the future?
I have so many hopes, it’s crazy! I will make a wish list like I did in the belly button of the Celtic menhir. Let me enunciate it from far to close-up:

  • The end of the fossil fuel monopoly.
  • Peace in the Middle East.
  • More female artists in art history.
  • One is a big enough studio in a Parisian suburb.


MISA VAN HAM KUNST_HALLE 

Marion Verboom is part of MISA VAN HAM KUNST_HALLE, the fifth edition of MISA taking place near Cologne from 16-21 November for the first time. In partnership with VAN HAM over 30 emerging and established positions will be presented together offline and online with digital art at the same time as Art Cologne.

Please click HERE to browse through the available work by Verboom. 


BIO

Marion Verboom (b. 1983) graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2009 before joining the residency programme De Ateliers in Amsterdam (2009-2011). Her work has been presented in solo exhibitions at the 40mcube space on the occasion of the Ateliers de Rennes – Biennale d'art contemporain (2012), at the Musée de l'Abbaye Sainte-Croix in Les Sables d'Olonne (2015), at The Pill Gallery, Istanbul (2016), at the Maison Chloé, Paris (2017-2018), La Vitrine du FRAC Ile-de-France, Paris (2020) amongst others. Her participations in group exhibitions include the Musée International des Arts Modestes, Sète (2017), the new "Toguna" space within the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2018), the Frac Bretagne, Rennes (2018), the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris (2019) or the Musée Elgiz, Istanbul (2019). Verboom’s works are part of several public collections throughout France and Spain. She has received the Sculpture Prize of the Institut de France, Académie des Beaux-Arts in 2019.

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