Images of Marc...

 

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Brussels has in its midst an artist who is known throughout the world but who, paradoxically, is little known in the Belgian art scene. Painting, sculpting, designing jewellery and involvement in international art projects occupy the daily routine of a wonderful and talented man…

 

Marc was born in Brussels, a few days after the Normandy landings, on 13 June 1944.


In his earliest childhood, he loved to play with frogs and insects, a not insignificant fact in the light of his subsequent work. During his childhood, like all Brussels schoolchildren, he went to the Natural Sciences Museum, which, until the middle of the 1950s, had retained its magnificent 19th century galleries. These made a deep impression on his young imagination, just as had been the case a generation earlier with the young Paul Delvaux. 


Marc’s interest, or rather his fascination, for the sections containing stuffed birds and insects caught the attention of the curator of the time, M Mertens, who gave him good advice about scientific drawing. This rather magical and very scientific experience would be enriched over the years, through travel and meeting people, to such an extent that when Marc gave free rein to his imagination and talent, he developed an art based on hybrid animals: trout-cum-rhinoceros, tortoises transformed into dinosaurs, etc.

 

Meantime, he pursued his studies in business science at the Leon Lepage Institut des Carrières Commerciales in Brussels. He joined the family firm of Ferdinand Meat in 1965. He was chairman of the Centre Belge des Jeunes Dirigeants d’Entreprises (1979), then member of the London Institute of Directors, administrator of the Brussels Chamber of Commerce (1980), judge at the Labour Court (1982) and vice-chairman of the Fédération des Jeunes Chefs d’Entreprises d’Europe (1983).


From 1972 to 1979, Marc worked for Emile Deletaille, a Brussels and New York antique dealer, for whom he travelled frequently in Africa and Asia.
In 1987, Marc opened an antiques gallery in Sablon in Brussels, specialising in African art and ethnic objects from around the world. This served as a source of inspiration, and he also exhibited his own work there. In 1993, he set up an art group, the Kâ group, which brought together young painters, sculptors, musicians and writers. The same year, he designed his first pieces of jewellery which he exhibited at Frères Leysen in Brussels. It was also in 1993 that he completed his first bronze sculpture “Jo, the volcano penguin”, in honour of the Brussels sculptor, Joseph Henrion.

 

Self-taught, Marc continued drawing and developed the basis of his future technique. He developed and invented a very high quality « hyper-pointillism » technique. This technique consists of drawing a continuous line around the object represented and inserting relief by filling it in with various layers of brush strokes and dots. Marc’s work, using this original technique, featured in a large exhibition in the Galerie de la Prévôté in Aix-en-Provence in 2002 in the “Sacred gardens” and won the “Medal of Honour” awarded by the town.

 

Marc is a wonderfully versatile artist whose creative work explores all kinds of shapes and uses all kinds of images. He never ceases to invent, drawing inspiration from his visual and sensory discoveries: a shellfish, a sea urchin or a crab shell found on a beach could thus give rise to a new work. This could be a picture or a sculpture, but also a jewel or a decorative panel.


“No one is a prophet in his own country” is a proverb that Marc could have made his own. Slim, “trendy”, easy to talk to and a comfortable fifty-something, Marc has an impressive international curriculum vitae.

 

Just consider: awarded prizes in the 80s in Dallas and Tokyo, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et de Lettres in France since 1991, the winner of the “30th International Prize for Contemporary Art” in Monaco in 1996 – that’s pretty impressive. And even although Michael Jackson and Toots Thielmans or the Japanese, Monaco and Belgian royal families have included his works in their private collections, Marc remains, nevertheless, a real artist, simple and true….with an unusually rich experience and an unusually diverse body of work. 


Marc’s work was also exhibited at the Avignon summer festival in 2002. While he was featured as the “most important foreign plastic artist” of the event, he was also involved in a very special initiative. His works served as the “backdrop” for a permanent and improvised dancing show: during the summer of 2002, an American troupe created original choreographies based on the responses of festival goers to the Belgian artist’s work. The same opportunity enabled Marc to play a dynamic role in promoting Belgian art during the festival.

 

Among Marc’s many projects and fields of investigation, let’s focus on one that is of world-wide significance, namely, the HTC code (Hyper Tactile Colour). In 1998, in collaboration with Professor Franck Deconinck of the VUB (Vlaama Universiteit Brussel) and the company, Treco, Marc developed a method whereby blind people can read not only lines and shapes but also colours and their shades by means of a system of dots and relief. This new technique also enables blind people to create their own drawings and to include colours that only they can read. According to WHO figures, there are 180 million blind and partially-sighted people in the world today who will need the HTC code one day. This makes us very aware of the importance of such an invention! Marc is currently working to make HTC a universal colour code for blind people: two Nobel prize-winners presented the project officially in 2003 at the United Nations in New York.

 

How can we “classify” this unclassifiable artist? How can we define his multifaceted work, so rich in images, surprises, technical and creative intricacies?
Joost De Geest, who has written a book about Marc, is perhaps the person to express it best: “the seriousness of his technique, the flights of fantasy and poetry, his social and ecological concerns, his interest in science, these form the foundations of Marc’s “ combinative art” which has its roots in 16th century mannerism. In truth, his work points more towards the future, when his art will doubtless be fully appreciated, and beyond the present stalemate among dilatory avant gardists. Sooner or later, bright, new ideas emerge from under the shadow of old, established notions. Marc’s spiritual and emotional sphere extends beyond language and knowledge”.

 

His work may find greater echo in scientific rather than traditional artistic fields. His encounter with, among others, ILya Prigogine, confirms and strengthens his conviction to develop an artistic form for the 21st century.

 

 

A career peppered with awards

  • Bronze medal awarded by the Contemporary Art Foundation, Dallas, 1983.
  • Silver medal awarded by the Contemporary Art Foundation, Tokyo, 1985.
  • Prize-winner at the 25th International Contemporary Art Prize awards, Monaco, 1991.
  • Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for all his work, presented by Jack Lang, Paris, 1991.
  • Culture medal awarded by the Rhode-Saint-Genèse commune, 1994.
  • First Duc de Valverde d’Alaya Valva prize for sculpture awarded at the 30th International Contemporary Art Prize awards, Monaco, 1996.
  • Prize-winner at the Automania Musica Foundation Brussels, 2000
  • Medal of honour awarded by the town of Aix-en-Provence, France, 2002.

His works feature in the finest art collections

  • Monaco royal family collection

  • Michael Jackson collection, Los Angeles

  • The Emperor of Japan’s collection (original from the CD « Night Spring », 1993)

  • Dexia collection, Brussels and Paris

  • ONCE Museum, Madrid, Spain

  • Automania Musica Foundation.

  • Luxembourg International Bank

  • Ibiza Museum of Contemporary Art

  • Toots Thielemans collection

  • Ilya Prigogine collection

  • Aix-en-Provence museum, France

  • Town of Marche-en Famenne, Belgium

Bibliography

  • Jacques Collard, « Marc antiquaire et artiste à part entière », in 50 artistes de Belgique, tome II, Viva Press, Jette, 1986, pp. 148-151.

  • Anne-Françoise Ries, Qantum, Marc période quantique, Les Editions du Sablon, Brussels, 1992 (preface de Philippe Cruysmans).

  • Muriel Dumont de Chassart, Marc hyperpointilliste, undergraduate thesis, UCL, 1994 (unpublished).

  • Les Artistes du Groupe Kâ inventent la terre, Les Editions du Sablon, Brussels, 1994.

  • Joost De Geest, Opus Marc, Les Editions du Sablon, Brussels, 1999.

  • Victor Dillinger, Natuur-Art, Dexia Banque et La Renaissance du Livre, Brussels, 2006.

  • Joost De Geest, 500 chefs-d’œuvre de l’Art belge du XVe siècle à nos jours, Lannoo/Racine, 2006.

Exhibitions of Marc’s work

Group exhibitions:

  • Dallas, 1983, Art Expo, at Dallas Market Hall.

  • New York, 1984, Young Artists from Europe, at New York Coliseum.

  • Tokyo, 1985, Laforet Museum.

  • New York, 1986, International Art Exposition, at Jacob Javits Convention Center.

  • Brussels, 1983, Le Dauphin, l’enfant mémoire et le miroir de l’homme.

  • Brussels, 1994, Pop Art et Groupe Kâ, Marc Gallery Brussels.

  • Rhode-Saint-Genèse, 1997 and1998, Rodeart.

  • Arlon, 1999, Nature Contre Nature.

  • Gand, 2002 and 2003, Lineart.

  • Luxembourg, 2003, Art contemporain.

  • Kappelle-op-de-Bos, Natuur-Art, 2006.

  • Waterloo, Natuur-Art, 2007.

  • Cologne, Aix-la-Chapelle et Berlin 2007, Récits d’eaux, at the Wallonia-Brussels cultural centre.

Solo exhibitions:

  • Brussels, Marc Gallery Brussels, from 1987 to 1998.

  • Tokyo, Osaka, 1997, works for the blind.

  • Marc et les Hommes Feuilles, as well as works in HTC code for the blind and partially-sighted, Rhode-St-Genèse, Cassini Gallery, 1998-1999, Belgium.

  • Marc et les Hommes Feuilles, as well as works in HTC code for the blind and partially-sighted, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Art Café Jean-Claude, 1999, United States.

  • Nature contre Nature, Arlon cultural centre, 1999, Belgium.

  • Un demi-siècle de sculpture belge, Banque Internationale du Luxembourg, 1999.

  • « Les jardins sacrés », Galerie de la Prévôté, Aix-en-Provence, 2002, France.

  • Festival d’Avignon, galerie Le Petit Louvre, Avignon, 2002, France.

  • Guest of honour at the Festival of Fantasy Film, Brussels, 2006.

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Premiers dessins de Marc, à l’âge de 12 ans
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Le Toucan (hommage à Octave Landuyt), peinture à l’huile
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Jo le Pingouin de Volcan (H: 50cm), Bronze, collection de la ville de Marche-en-Famenne
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Marc en 1996, recevant la Médaille d’honneur de la ville d’Aix-en-Provence des mains de Gérard Géracy, Attaché aux Handicapés de la Mairie d’Aix-en-Provence
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Cothurne
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Marc en 1996, lors de la remise du Prix international de Sculpture, en présence du Prince Rainier et du peintre Carzou, de l’Institut de France (Académie des Beaux-Arts)
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Affiche de l’exposition de Marc pendant le Festival d’Avignon, en 2002
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Le code H.T.C. (Hyper Tactile Colour) inventé par Marc
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En Inde, des enfants aveugles utilisent les dessins tactiles réalisés par Marc en code H.T.C.
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Marc en compagnie d’Ilya Prigogine, Prix Nobel
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Exposition Nature contre Nature, à Arlon en 1999. Marc en compagnie de le Grande-duchesse du Luxembourg et de la Reine Paola de Belgique
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Les hommes feuilles D’Jack
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Affiche de l’exposition de Marc pendant le Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, en 2002