In the lead up to It’s Nice That’s annual symposium, Here 2017, we have asked each of the speakers to shed light on their career to date by sharing a piece of work created at the outset of their career and a more recent piece, then reflect on the progression between the two. Today, artist Marguerite Humeau tells us how she got from There to Here.
Artist Marguerite Humeau’s work seeks fact through speculation, finding possibilities in the absence of evidence. Whether it’s making extinct beasts roar again or exploring mortality with sculptures that create poisons and antidotes, Marguerite’s work is unflinching and bold, often combining exotic and unimaginable materials.
Last year saw Marguerite exhibit solo shows at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and Nottingham Contemporary in the UK. Her works reside in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Lafayette Corporate Foundation in Paris.
The Opera of Prehistoric Creatures (Trailer), 2012
What is the work? Why was it created?
The video is a trailer for my first project: The Opera of Prehistoric Creatures. It was directed by Le Studio Humain with whom I have been collaborating ever since.
I had graduated and curator Alexandra Midal offered me to be part of the group show Politique Fiction at Cité du Design in Saint Etienne. I had told Alexandra before, while I was still at RCA, that my dream was to create an opera of prehistoric creatures. At the time, back in 2011, I was working on reviving a Mammoth Imperator as my graduation project. I produced three monumental sculptures for Politique Fiction in 2012. I thought that many people would only see pictures of the works online, and not physically in the museum space. I asked Le Studio Humain to recreate the same visceral, physical and sound experience as an online experience – I asked him to direct a video that would translate the feeling, the visceral experience rather than merely documenting the show.
What did you learn while doing it?
Collaboration is so valuable – it helped me think about my practice in a very different way, and lead me to unexpected territories.
What do you think of it now?
I am still interested in developing ways by which an exhibition (as a physical experience) can be translated into various forms and communicated in multiple ways through different media – and to challenge those formats. Can an exhibition become a story, a novel, a track, a concert, a play, a scientific paper, a trailer etc.?
How does it relate to your current work?
I have been obsessed by the same research topics ever since. I have been exploring the possibility of communication between worlds and the means by which knowledge is generated in the absence of evidence or through the impossibility of reaching the object of investigation. I have been trying to weave factual events into speculative narratives, to enable unknown, invisible, or extinct forms of life to erupt in grandiose splendour – and attempting to update the quest genre for the information age.
Preparatory Sketch for Riddles, January 2017
What is the work? Why was it created?
A preparatory sketch for my upcoming large-scale project entitled Riddles, that encompasses more than twenty microscopic to monumental, highly abstract to highly figurative sculptures, sound tracks, a book, frescoes, artificial intelligence, etc… and that will deploy itself over three different cities and four different spots in 2017: on the High Line in New York, at Clearing NYC, at the Schinkel Pavillon and finally Haus Konstruktiv in Zürich.
What would you tell your younger self about this work?
Everything will be fine, as long as you work hard, keep focus and enjoy yourself while doing all this!
Alongside Marguerite, this year’s speakers include fashion designer Christopher Raeburn, art director and photographer Carlota Guerrero, artist Ryan Gander, graphic design agency Triboro, graphic artist James Jarvis and photographer Juno Calypso.
Keep your eyes peeled for further announcements about the event over the coming weeks.