Marine sculptures

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Nov 13 2022

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Category: Europe, Italy

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Meeting with the installation Migrations by Marguerite Humeau at the Venice Biennale my first reaction is: this isn’t for me. Her strange sculptures don’t appeal to me, falling completely outside of my esthetic framework. The three sculptures have names of important oceanic currents and the accompanying text talks about ‘supernatural, biomorphic sculptures’ and ‘sinuous marine sculptures as if caught in acts of migration’. The designation ‘sinuous marine sculptures’ gives me some hold. It appeals to my imagination and I start actually getting intrigued by these strange forms. My interest still increases when I read the list of materials that have gone into their construction: biological and synthetic resin and polymers, salt, algae, seaweed, bone, pigments, mineral dust, ocean plastic, glass, stainless steel structure. This is truly extraordinary. Now I start seeing them as peculiar marine animals, like jelly fish, floating through the oceans in flowing movements, breathing, successively contracting and expanding. Here they stand on a platform at an exhibition, hence they need a ‘stainless steel structure’ to keep themselves upright. That they also contain ocean plastic and glass we can take as a sign of the artist’s concern about the pollution of the oceans, but also as an indication of how these creatures know to adapt themselves to changes in their environment.

With her marine sculptures Humeau has made me think. She has drawn me in the mysterious underwater world of the oceans. Her unusual materials and what she has done with them have after all touched me. Her marine sculptures have come to life.

Photo of the week: Marguerite Humeau, ‘Migrations’, 2022, Venice Biennale, Italy 2022

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