The museum of Secondary Arts
Prior to being this disturbing dreamer of an alternative ethnic death allegory, THÉO MERCIER used to be a good student.
After studying industrial design geared towards engineering, he chose to spend 3 months with MATTHEW BARNEY.
THÉO brings with him his knowledge of plastic technologies,
Matthew gives him the desire to be an artist, to perform with generosity, the collaboration last over a year.
This fascinating encounter made him realize that human ambition is not necessarily associated with money or success, it can also be a vital energy.
THÉO MERCIER and the funeral ritual under a microscope bring about this age old question : Is Death a real blond?
Sabine Morandini: Can anybody create a God, anywhere, with anything?
Theo Mercier: Yes, I think that the idea of God is in the eye of the beholder, the outlook on things, people and the world. It's a very intimate idea, the scale really doesn't matter. A divinity can be microscopic or gigantic,personal or universal, magical or not. It can reside in anything and anybody can see it or create it.
SM: What do you think of the trending for vanities?
TM: It would appear that vanities are trending. It's an interesting phenomenon because it reinforces the idea of vanity itself. It's surprising to observe that those baroque compositions, allegories to the lightness of the being, the oblivion and fleetingness of existence itself can be found today on some trendy young girl 's tee shirt.Is it irony or ignorance? Irony I hope.
SM: The primary arts, the secondary arts, what would be the third art?
It would be incredible, in the sensation level, holograms, gel pills, it would be the disappearance of the physical art form, without becoming some sort of sordid minimalism, rather an extremely strong visual and emotional experience..
But it wouldn't be the 70's..
SM: The exposed masks, did you make or acquire them?
TM: Most of them have been acquired. More than half are coming from an artifact serie , reproductions,meaningless objects .. The rest have a past, a story..a value.
SM: Amongst your numerous inspirations, which one is the strongest?
TM: Death is the main inspiration. Death fascinates me, it's an absolute mystery, where men can't access..In that way it attracts me.
It's a bit like a private club:-)
I developped a vocabulary for anatomy, putrefaction, germ, budding, animal, ...organic.
And even though my work speaks and uses death codes and forms, there's nothing morbid about it..I hope.
Another inspiration, would evidently be the monster...The one that pushes away as much as he fascinates, a duality that I try to express in my productions. the monster as a rendez vous with the ridicule, the funny and the terrifying. A nice encounter .
There is also the game,the party, the ludicrous, the farce..the plastic.
SM: Humor..Is it important for you?
TM: Essential! especially in our society that is dangerously deprived.
..And Art is not serious you know.
SM: Do you feel close to the surrealists?
TM: As I didn't study Art and as my Art culture is rather thin, I took as a habit to avoid comparing my work with the history of Art. My work doesn't speak of Art..I don't neither.
SM: Your skulls are smiling. Is vanity funny?
TM: We already know death in connection with pain, the tears of the loved ones, disease, solitude...The artist's role is not to bury open caskets..that's why I offer a fun death, like a bizare old friend.
I've also always despised whining.
SM: What fascinates you?
TM: Everything but sport.
SM: What are you most fascinated about your work?
TM: To look for, outside, objects, materials, surprises, to meet with people, places..My work is completly dependant upon my environment.
Then in the shop, when all the components are there, to combine them, look for the improbable functionning couple, mix until the graft takes, and then the prize..is to have found it.
SM: What is your dream for tomorrow?
TM: More curiosity, attention..To live better with our surrounding. to learn to observe more, go back to basics.,,And to have a good weather.
SM: What are your projects?
TM: After this very intense production phase I'm going to disappear for a while.
Then I have a huge project for the city of LiLLE in October 2012, a dozen of gigantic sculptures between 20 and 35 feet.
At the same time there will be the release of a book with existing projects, and specific projects for that edition. Those are two new supports, formats, experiences : the book and the big sizes: I never worked that scale.