Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The artist's spirit - Marcel Mariën

I live in a house where a surrealist artist lived until he died in 1993. Two years later my parents bought the house. It was a complete ruin. Indeed, at the end of his life, the artist only lived in two rooms, and covered every window or source of light, because he didn't want to know if it was day or night. So who's the artist?! 
When people think about surrealism and Belgium, they automatically think of René Magritte. There's even a museum dedicated entirely to him... And I don't really care for him to be honest. I always thought his creations as dull, bland, and I'm glad it's not him. It's Marcel Mariën.

 His most famous creation is this one; "L'Introuvable", 1937.
But mainly, from what I saw, he enjoyed the more scandalous side of the surrealist movement. He enjoyed photographing the occasional nude female body in a surreal, anecdotic and/or subversive way.  
Marcel Mariën, L'esprit de l'escalier/The spirit of the stairs

Sometimes I stumble upon a photograph and I can recognize that it was taken in our house. It is an funny feeling. So familiar. You never really think about how was the place you live in when it was somebody else's special place.

Like those stairs. I walked down and up those stairs ever since I was 9. I played on them, made up little scenes with my playmobiles on them, went down the ramp in the most dangerous ways, and simply went up to go to my bedroom and down to go to school.

He saw those stairs in a different light. We can all see what he wanted to express in this picture. I see the routine, the spirit of somebody, the habits, the questioning of life, of existence, of staying or going somewhere. Or maybe it is just me. Art is subjective anyway. 

It's fascinating when that previous owner was a surrealist artist. I can feel that weird creative spirit sometimes. Or I ask myself what an artist would see in a particular situation. Would he approuve? Would he enjoy what's happening in this house presently? Probably.

* You can find more information and visual support on the internet in general, in old libraries, and on this link the catalogue in .pdf of an international exhibition.*

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