Marcel Devillers – État des lieux de l’amour


État des lieux de l’amour

Marcel Devillers

Les Bains-Douches, Alençon

14.09 – 03.11



The heart is a solitary smiley face

If the presence of words appears in places through object-paintings, the practice of Marcel Devillers is anchored and rooted in painting; it is often a question of a narration’s enunciation and materiality that the artist interrogates.

Productions of a visual narrative by means of spellings, frames, lighting devices, volume, materiality, and variations of thickness continuously cross his installations’ format, where a pop gesture is seen alongside the decorative and the canvas.

With Etat des lieux de l’amour, Marcel Devillers signals his return to the extension of the Bains- Douches, in presenting a wall assembly where the stereotyped form, the arrangement of signs, and collage intersect.

In the exhibition whose sentimental title resonates also as an inventory of material strategies, the artist proposes a fragmentary narrative where composite and baroque vocabularies meet. Variations of patterns: the shape of the heart amalgamates the aesthetic of cartoons and the format of the sign or the carnival, colored bulbs recall vanities in on-set dressing rooms, adding to the iconoclast datum. Combining glossy and dripping effects, rhinestones, sequins, and a patina of black tape, this graphic and underworld-like aesthetic plays on the codes of an ambiguous taste, asserted by Marcel Devillers. It references the atmosphere of films like that of Verhoeven, (i.e. Showgirls) or the lights in Brian de Palma’s sequence shots.

Borrowing from the practice of blaster walls, winking at the adolescent room plastered with celebrity posters, the spectator finds these 90s tones through derisively glamorous press clippings of icons. In the image of these fictitious supports and projection receptacles which cause reflexion upon the world or the times, Etat des lieux de l’amour presents a phantasmal logic, calling to mind a logbook cut as if it were biographical notes that would hold phantom cartels.

The exhibition participates in the idea of seriality and a sequential viewing of painting as if through raw and organic reboots; it is from the falls of previous works that the artist elaborates upon in the new works presented. For Marcel Devillers, the notions of confection and textures go hand-in- hand with the cut-up and generalized collage. This is as evidenced in his writing, which proceeds in layers and generated images, some of which intertwine like so many sensory drifts.

Conceived as immersive sensations of flux and atmospheric imagery and told in the first person, the texts* of Marcel Devillers participate in the same logic of echos, where the intimate and the generic, the stylized rythme and the floating image are mixed together. As the writer Jean- Jacques Schuhl describes, it is a way of being between elements and making a montage: “I dream that the author becomes a sort of receptor.”

Cinematic and cosmetic, Etat des lieux de l’amour resembles Cool Memories, which explores the hybrid dimensions of representation as well as the borders between registers. In a subliminal and prismatic way, the wall works of Marcel Devillers play with and cloud the issue, as a way to turn around the idea of a painting—deliberately maintaining the grey areas of the state of things and a pervasive narrative, in which the narrator could either be Marcel the author or Devillers the artist, or one in the other, and reciprocally.

Frédéric Emprou

* La note salée du désir, ed. Les Bains-Douches, 2017, Alençon.
Cette nuit je dors, collection Fraîches Fictions, Zéro2 éditions, Les Bains-Douches, 2018, Alençon.

photo credits: Romain Darnaud