Swinging the axe against popular notions of art

Théo Mercier

Here is an artist some might refer to as the last dadaist. But such a term is a daft anachronism, though there are some similarities. In Mercier’s work there is a real sense of whimsicality about the whole process. There is also an apparent humour of chance results which all lead to new avenues worth pursuing even within the same objects of art.

Whether it is a sign of self awarenes or not, Théo has the following to say about himself:

I have a flea market in my head and know nothing about art

But whatever he does, it makes a lasting impression around the globe, and today he is viewed as one of the strongest artists to have emerged from France for many years. Théo spends much of his life in a studio in Paris. The city district is an eclectic mix of ‘is-‘ and ‘has been-‘ Paris, and here the 28-year-old French artist works with some phenomenal sculptures.

Nothing is sacred in the process of creating art. The ingredients can be sculls, feathers, plastic fruit and vegetables, mouse traps and dildos. He likes morbid subjects and poisonous animals. life size persons appear in installations swinging axes at something. One could suspect an almost restless quest to see if anything or everything could be used in the next peice of art. That is liberating because what’s important is the resulting experience.

Famous pieces of art

One of his more famous pieces is ‘Le solitaire’ (i.e. the loner) a sad spaghetti man of proportions. Whether or not the sculpture is made from artificial noodles says something about being ostracised for obese high-carbon diet or is a clever reference to Auguste Rodín’s the thinker. Other notable works are ‘the mad ones’ and ‘Queen of Duku’, ‘Oil Now a very hairy motorcycle indeed.

Théo Mercier doesn’t come from the art world, and the latter still has to come to terms with the notion. In fact he is an industrial designer who chose to study and learn from Mathew Barney in his New York studio for 3 months. After a series of group shows, he finally managed to mount his first solo exhibition in his home city of Paris in 2009.

So far Mercier has mounted 10 public shows of which 4 were solo

Solo shows

2011 Le Musée Des Arts Seconds – Galerie Gabrielle Maubrie, Paris

2010 Hunted Haunted / Bête et sauvage – Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris

2009 Nature Morte et Enterrée – Galerie Gabrielle Maubrie, Paris

2009 Oil Now – envoy enterprises, New York City, NY

In the pipeline

He is also behind a huge project for the city of Lille in October 2012 resulting in some gigantic sculptures between 20 and 35 feet tall. He has also begun to look back and intends to release of a book with his existing projects at some point soon