Today, I’d like to tell you about my first encounter with the young artist Marie Jacotey: she tells me about her research, her desires, and of course, her creations. After the Arts-Décos, Marie Jacotey left for London to attend the Royal College of Art, and ever since then she’s been living there.
Surprisingly, this mysterious young woman explains to me her different works: her series of drawings, miniature plasters, and her large paintings on plastic created as frescos and that, thanks to static electricity, are able to adhere to the wall. Behind all of these works is a loving, slightly provocative young lady, sometimes a feminist and always entertaining.
She also explains to me the great painters who inspire her, including Matisse, David Hockney, Marc Desgrandschamps…
However, there’s also Tal R, Darger, and Blutch who influence her drawing; Marguerite Duras, Françoise Sagan, and Alberto Moravia, who are her literary idols; Wolfgang Tillman and Terry Richardson with their photography; and still many others…
Florence Briat-Soulié: How do your ideas come to you, and why do you work with plaster?
Marie Jacotey: In general, it’s pretty hard for me to say how I began to work on a series, but rather I say what gave me the idea because generally, drawings give life to each other. My research is a little bit random because I really love experimenting with different media, and the plaster, for example, returns to my diploma in Arts-Déco where I had started experimenting with it. I had already done a first series of images that dealt with feminine intimacy more in the sense of a return to self, and that was explored in a more religious sense of the term—that’s to say girls who are involved in churches. It’s quite an obsessive subject that returns to my work, and that was the first time that I put it on plaster, and I had begun to do it at the midway point between painting and drawing. So there it’s exclusively drawing in this series, but at that time in the first series that I had done, it was a bit of trial and error. I loved working with plaster because it reminded me of ancient churches, and that’s the great tradition of painting, on classic plaster.
I had worked again over at the Royal College with an idea in mind of an even bigger series, consisting of a multitude of little plaques like small icons or ex-votos. I wanted to concentrate on a project, and it was at this moment that it happened. The phrase that guided this series is “Getting over you,” and it deals with a separation in a romantic sense, or more seriously death.
I am obsessed with human relations and the relationship with death, which is a pretty common subject with artists.
FBS: The colors are so lively…they make me think of a certain influence of the work of Paula Rego, and I find that your drawings, without being truly caricatures, make me think of comic strips.
MJ: It’s true, I think that there are definitely similarities. I absolutely understand the ties, and I find it so interesting to have my work compared to hers.
FBS: And can you tell me about your upcoming exhibition?
MJ: It’s an exhibition that will be in June at the Rook & Raven gallery in London.
FBS: Who came to you about this exhibition?
MJ: It was a young curator named Aretha Campbell who saw my work, I imagine at the Hannah Barry gallery where I displayed it. We had a mutual friend interested in figurative feminine artists. She loved my work and the similarities that it had with Paula Rego.
FBS: You’ll be how many artists not including her?
MJ: Right now, we’re four.
FBS: Paula Rego is a great woman, an artist associated with the National Gallery, a museum in Portugal…
MJ: Yes, and in London, there’s an infatuation with her work.
FBS: In France, she’s not too well known to the general public.
MJ: I know, I discovered her work when I arrived in London.
FBS: You use very vibrant colors!
MJ: Plaster makes colors more intense than on paper, and for that reason that I love this medium.
FBS: And you’d like to stay in London?
MJ: For the moment, yes. I’d love to have residences abroad so I can travel, but London suits me well.
FBS: You always have that character, blond or brunette.
MJ: My drawing, without being caricatured, is quite stylized, and I do take graphic liberty that makes it similar to a comic strip. My character is a bit of a stereotype of a young girl.
FBS: What are your projects in France, or elsewhere?
MJ: Tomorrow is the hanging of Drawing Now, which debuts on Wednesday for the Metropolis gallery. At the end of the week, I’m doing part of a collective exhibition in Ghent in Belgium. This week, I also have the launch of a new magazine, Sourire Magazine, which was created by Alice Méteigner that contains nine serial graphics of which one is by me. At the beginning of May, I have the Salon de Montrouge.
FBS: And in London?
MJ: At the Heike Moras gallery, I have a personal exhibition of drawings, paintings, and plasters, and in June at the Rook & Raven gallery, I’m working on a project composed of fragments of drawings on silk paper.
Florence Briat Soulie
Translated by Erica DeMichiel , Wesleyan University, Vassar Wesleyan Program in Paris Fall 2015.