Frame 61

Antonio Marguet

Frame 61
Antonio Marguet

Could you tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been a practicing artist and where did it all begin? 

After studying fine art and sculpture in Spain, I came to London wanting to learn more about photography. I worked as a professional photographer and ended up doing editorials and front covers for art and fashion magazines, including an international gay magazine called AXM. I was always fascinated with the power of imagery in relation to fiction and desire and so I suppose that’s where all this began. After a while and studying an MA, I became more interested in moving away from the logic of photography back into the fine art context. 

The sculptures you create are photographed and then destroyed, could you talk about the reasons behind this decision to present your work in this way?

Is physical presence a condition for something to impose its authority? I think the immediacy of an image has a lot of power, and I think an image could tell more than the actual thing. This is not because of its descriptive quality but because it adds a kind of density. This density is what I have been exploring. On the other hand I’m interested in how materiality can reach another dimension beyond its physical gravity, and by using images I am making emphasis on their social element. I don’t believe in the notion of raw material which is more of a myth, and by using images their significant value as cultural matter come across more directly. 

Postmodern Affair, C-type print on aluminium and wood 2014

Postmodern Affair, C-type print on aluminium and wood 2014

What is your process, how do you start a new piece of work?

I certainly don’t have a formula and my mind wanders a lot. My process is probably not very different from most artists, although often slow as involves a lot of making before the photo-shoot stage. I think I always need to feel excited and get absorbed in experimentation. Although I part from a general idea and get involved in a body of work and research, when working on a particular piece I hold myself in a non-logical activity as this favours experimentation. I examine what the material can do and work on it, trying not impose any preconceived idea over the material. For me the work has to be able to tell something standing on his own. Quite often, I make quick mock up before I get involved in the production of a final piece, but even when it’s almost finished I always feel relaxed if I need to make any changes in order to get enthusiastic about it.

What do you hope the viewer gains/reacts from looking at your work?

I am not against having fun in front of a work of Art, but it would be nice if I could generate some awareness of the different levels in which materiality can be presented, their role and how we could relate to them. To what extent do we project an immense spiritual power into the inanimate? 

Ultimately, to stir the imagination and the mind upon questions relating to understanding non-rational dimensions deep in our mind, which are significant residue of the unconscious that has survived in history. I think my work is not about the devaluation of our direct experience, but maybe about the unnecessary relation between what we might experience as real and reality, and the questioning of any absolute.

You talk about objects and images being fetishised and/or worshiped, could you talk about this and your thoughts behind it?

Isn’t the absence of the stand-in what gives the special qualities to any fetish? I think the gap that an image leaves when replacing something has a lot of potential. My practice engages with that potential, and the way of turning ‘passive’ material into active subject of worship. This is to do with an irrational element in the way we relate to images.

Exotic Juicy Tutti Frutti C-type Print 2011

Silly Citrus Sunset in the Pacific C-type Print 2011

Tell us a bit about how you spend your day/studio routine?

I try to be surrounded by stuff that stimulates me and I spend my time in the studio as a playground, like a big child trying to solve a five-thousand-year-old puzzle ....I spend a lot of time observing how things behave in relation to each other, and maybe fighting against the natural order of things. 

A bit like the horrible vision that’s conjured in your mind when you think about the refugee who nearly drowned in a vat of chocolate when crossing the border into the UK. In a tank of melting chocolate, he had to keep moving to keep from getting totally trapped in the chocolate. 

How do you go about naming your work?

This is the most enjoyable part of my process. The names are very important notes. Sometimes basically they brings clues into the work, about what’s going on. And sometimes it’s nothing to do with the work and they help you as the viewer to get more lost and find your own answers.

What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?

A video called Even Pricks by Ed Atkins with a talking chimpanzee. It was very engaging and I loved his straightforward and direct aesthetic. 

Pending Marshmallow in a Seascape, C-type print 2013

Phantom Limb I, C-type print 2013

Summer of Love Aftermath, C-type print 2015

The Encounter, C-type print 2015

89 Rave’s Ride, C-type print 2015

Drum’s Court, C-type print 2015

What does the future hold for you as an artist? Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about? 

I am really enjoying my process and development. I’ve been excited since a recent show I had at Gallery Vasli Souza in Malmo, in how to engage the space around the works, from the walls to the floors by using wall-objects. 

My last project, ‘Skin of Shark’s Teeth’ connects the Marchioness Disaster with the Summer of Love in 1998 and the idea of loss and memorial. I am waiting for the perfect opportunity to show this as well as work on my latest series which is exploring our relationship with a sense of touch.

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Publishing date of this interview 24/06/16