Brice Maré - Born in 1986 in Paris (France), lives and works in Thorigny-sur-marne (France).
"In the structural utopia of an avant-gardist maze, Brice Maré disturbs the dimensions. Flat surfaces are converted into volumic objects, in favour of a suitable angle, of a bright ray of light that would reveal the assemblies of materials, letting out the complexity of paper framework buildings, constructed with sketched out intertwining. Engaged in a transdisciplinary trajectory, his stroke defends the combination of technical drawing and conceptualisation through the implantation context of the artwork. Laying on this relevantly-balanced duality, he sketches a personal language which is grasped out from the architectural and urbanised environment that surrounds us. If some are the directors of words, signs, figurative allegories, to fashion a new way of artistic expression, Brice Maré collects, inventories and classifies shapes to constitute an alphabet of geometric conventions, which will become prime material for the structures-to-be.
#Inspiration | Urbanity / Your work reflects a transversal approach mid-way between the urban and the Fine-Arts culture. How would you position your approach ? Could your work be related to the graffuturism current?
Brice Maré / "This might be due to my study orientations: I first attended the Applied Arts School, and then the Fine Arts. I’d say that this transversality is complementary. In short, one is rather technical and executive and the other, theoretical and conceptual. Regarding that current, I do appreciate some of the graphical aspects, but I wouldn’t say I’m part of this movement. The same goes to graffiti, I’ve never considered myself as a graffiti artist, even though I’ve watched this movement closely. What I’ll keep from it, is the appropriation of the space. Taking long recon walks to select walls, supports, materials. This approach was a breakthrough in my practice, and to me everything suddenly took shape. This phase was a revelation."
Who were the artists that have had an impact on you and inspired you more ? Which artist would you relate to your approach ?
"Krijn De Koning, André Bloc, Wojciech Gilewicz, Sol Lewitt."
You do a lot of research prior to a starting a creation. Could you tell us more about what is in your sketchbooks and the recurrent subjects on your environment photographs?
"I use my drawings as the starting point of my work. Basically, I draw abstract "micro-structures". I’ve constituted a glossary of geometric shapes that I then use as modules and that I put together to create new constructions. The sketchbooks are like a data base. I browse through them to find the drawings that would interest me to later develop them and decline them onto different supports, either in a studio or outdoor. I also take a lot of pictures. I keep files on several of the elements found in the city, like industrial framework, or buildings coatings, even the pharmacies crosses. All this side work is a source for my practice."
How did your time in the art schools influence your current productions?
"School allowed me to try different media, to question my reflection and to narrow my research. It is a meeting and an exchange space. It’s a very rich environment. School also widens our field of vision. You need to be very motivated because there are a lot of confrontations as well. You continuously have to defend your work..."
#process | Do you always start by drawing the outlines?
"Usually, I do. I have personalised several basic outlines that I use as a structure (like the isometric outline that I am using now). The outline may be more or less elaborate depending on the type of drawing and the chosen material."
Some of your drawings spread out onto very large formats like actual miniature towns. One of your piece even seems to go on endlessly, as you chose a roll of paper that is over three meters long for support. How do you know an artwork is finished?
"At that time, I was mainly drawing in sketchbooks. Each book was a direct result of what I was observing in the environment (railings, tiles, stairs…). I felt the need to escape that format and to move this creation flow onto only one support rather than onto several. It is as if I was putting the pages of the book side by side to constitute only one drawing. I stopped when I felt that the drawing was evolving into something that would allow me to shift to new shapes. On this one particularly, I went from rectangular to pyramidal shapes."
You say to be working the way an "architect" does. Are you referring to the way you organise your work at the creating stage or to the artwork itself?
"I am not an architect but I could be related to this type of creating process, from the drawing to the model, from model size to full scale. It is within these production stages that a relation can be made. There is a scientific approach in the experimental relation, as well. Constantly trying and experimenting on new things, just like in a laboratory. I look for new shapes, new supports and new interactions daily."
#ARTWORKS | Your work comes in many shapes, may it be drawings, sculptures, installations... How do your works interact among themselves? In what do they bear resemblance?
"I like to decline an artwork onto different supports to vary the interactions with the space, the material and the medium. From time to times, one artwork calls another, that is to say that it already contains the information of the next artwork (shapes, dimensions, outlines…). The research undertaken make me discover new processes or supports and trigger the wish to work with new media. I can create entire series and keep the same support several times."
Most of the time you work with black and white, is this a way to better get close to the structure itself?
"I mainly use black and white, but I also use shades of grey. It is true that I am a minimalist in the quantity of colours I use, but it is only to be closer to the formal aspect of my pieces. Most of the time I work on tinted areas to suggest the very structure of my drawings. I very often use a very binary relation thus the use of only two colours. I’d say that the third colour is the light. It enables the artworks to become volumes, "a passage from 2Ds to 3Ds"."
"I always try to create an interaction between the artwork and the space, and therefore between the artwork and the spectator. Which would lead to a conceptual, structural and aesthetic approach. It may be used in a direct or indirect manner. It is more about the will to change the perception of space."
"First of all, at that time, I was drawing my inspiration from the Roman Art, and later I was able to visit it. I noticed that the architecture of the edifice was a transition from Roman to Gothic art. This is how I have been able to evolve graphically on an ornamental level. It had become obvious to me, given my current research, that this space needed interaction. I acted in coherence with the existing framework (paving, stained-glass, tiling…). I tried to synthesise my constructions to have a dialogue with the space on an architectural level. The reaction with the audience went very well. They felt a true connection with the space and did not perceive my works to be a disturbance to the spirit of the site."
You regularly create installations for public spaces. Are you inclined to also work for collectors? How to apprehend the creation of an artwork destined to a public space, with free access to it, in comparison to an artwork acquired by a collector for a private space?
"May it be an institutional order, a spontaneous intervention or a request by a collector, my approach remains the same, it is simply the site that changes. I admit that in a household, the space may be a bit reduced, but this is not an inconvenient. I like the challenge to adapt to all situations, I live together with the space, it is not a constraint. The artworks are created specifically for that site."
"It had been a while since I wanted to work with other artists on drawings. The idea was to gather several artists’ drawings and have them interact. I made the acquaintance of many nice people and had many constructive exchanges to make this work come true. This is a first for me. At the beginning, I was thinking of working with a few artists with whom I have graphic sensitivity and a common drawing approach. But then, the project got bigger, so I decided to broaden the drawing possibilities, and subsequently the artists as well. It is important to me to spread this practice, give a noble status to drawing."
You are currently preparing "Drawing 15", following on from your first work. Could you give us a few insights on this project?
"The first one was a new experience. For the second one, I’m trying to sharpen my eye towards the drawing and the edition. May it be in the choice of artworks or the connections between them. At this time, the selection is over. 40 artists will be credited for this work limited to 150 copies. It should be released during the year 2015."
Have you already worked in collaboration with artists issued from Urban Art who use distinct technics from yours ? Is this something to think about?
"Yes I have already had this kind of collaboration. This are nice moments of exchange. I’m excited at the idea of working with other artists and of discovering new universes."
Exhibitions & projects
"Loire art show" by Sacre bleu, site-specific installation, Orléans (France).
"Élévation", site-specific installation, Now, Lyon (France).
Artist residency and site-specific installation, Zarya, Institut Français / Alliance Française, Vladivostok (Russie).
"Enchanté Paris", Galerie Jed Voras, Paris, (France).
"Brice Maré", solo show, Maison Bleue, Strasbourg, (France).
"Dimensions", solo show, Palais Jacques Coeur, Bourges, (France).
"Brice Maré", solo show, Maison Bleue, Strasbourg, (France).
"Sculpture en l’île", for Balades en Yvelines event, Sur l’île Nancy, Andrésy, (France).
"Latwall", solo show, Rue de l’aimant, Strasbourg, (France).
"Orient/Occident", SACIM Versailles, Le Chesnay, (France).
"Folie les mots 05", Festival, Faux-La-Montagne, (France).
"Rue-Stick 01", Passage des Taillandiers, Paris, (France).
"I try my best to have a rendering close to the perfection the industry order would have. Regarding my remarks, it is only logical that there would be no technical flaws in my productions. I am rarely satisfied of the technical quality but I do try to get as close as possible. The clearer the artwork, the more efficient the message. The context is a part of the artwork." Brice Maré
"From his drawings, representing progressive “micro-architectures” in the form of plans or volumes, Brice Maré puts to scale his creations according to the space and the support given. He mainly feeds on architectural ornaments (diamond tip bricks, cathedral reinforcements, semi-circular arches), and urban signs (pharmacy crosses, road signs…), found in the cities. When following the existing outlines, as much on paper (squares on ruled paper, isometric grids…) as in the real space (tiling, wood floor, heaters, stairs…), he inserts his abstract architectures, which thus become contextualised." (Text from the artist "Brice Maré 2013-2009").
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