Martine Feipel & Jean Bechameil
Originating from the Luxembourgish scene and active on the European scene, the artist duo Martine Feipel & Jean Bechameil (b. 1975, Luxemburg / b. 1964, Paris) has been developing a body of work since 2008 that is distinguished by the richness of its visual vocabulary and its socially conscious scrutiny of the contemporary world.
Working as a twosome, Feipel & Bechameil produce installations where there is a mix of illusion, imagination, instability and illogicality within gridded and controlled places in the contemporary world. As sculptors but also amateur researchers and engineers, informed by a great sensibility with regard to the theatricality of the world and its various forms of beauty, they create works within a socio-historical, aesthetic, political and technical approach. In combining their many areas of know-how in various fields - drawing, sculpture, engineering, directing and presentation, and sets -, they are producing an oeuvre that is as formally accomplished as it is powerfully engaged.
As artists, they have no certainties about ideal social and cultural models, but they are forever questioning human life by way of themes such as the social and collective setting, life styles, the forms of architecture people occupy and the objects which accompany us in our daily round, the landscape that is presented to us, and the areas of freedom we are given, as well as the future being traced out for us. As robotics hackers Feipel & Bechameil propose a re-appropriation of the realm of technology in a sensitive way, using an eminently political gesture: taking possession of the expertise and know-how of industrial robotics, to apply them to the creation of artworks which describe our world in a different way.
‘Nighthunters’ places the nature and the different forms of the living at the center of their reflection. It is not anymore, the question of how modernity has changed our relation to world, but how modernity has upset the world and caused the endangerment of our environment and the different forms of living. The artists consciously wish to alter our view on the simplest forms of living around us and glorify the living in its various forms. By apprehending their environment in its most raw and purified forms with an imagined, fantasized and dreamed expression, they hope to grant them a kind of divine mystery. Inspired by the enigmatic representation of nature in the art of the antiquity, as well as the early theories of Heraclites that considered the nature as divine, concealed in a behavior that is keeping many secrets within.
For the exhibition ‘Nighthunters’ at Gallery Fontana in Amsterdam Feipel & Bechameil produced a new body of work in ceramics showing the interference through fragments of the human body, the animal and the vegetal, as well as the monumental low reliefs organically modelled and depicting the hunters of the night set in a scenography immersing the visitor in the nightsky.
The artists show as well works from the recent series ‘Rebels’ and the mural works ‘Untitled’ (Lunar, Modular) animated by a choreography of movement created through robotic motors.
For the exhibition Nighthunters the artists continued the series ‘Shelters’, small ceramic sculptures as well as functional birdhouses. Through vivid colors of the glaze and through their partly geometric and sometimes organic shapes, these sculptures evoke joyful characters.
Feipel & Bechameil started to develop the birdhouses with the project ‘Cité d’urgences - Apus Apus’ and gave been awarded in 2018 the special price of the Jury from the COAL award in collaboration with the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris. The birdhouses are dedicated to the species whose survival is directly endangered by the scarcity of their habitat due to our modern lifestyle. The birdhouses aim to offer a new form of housing for the birds and hope to help re-integrated them within our living space and to allow a poetic co-habitation of mankind and other forms of nature.
The couple Martine Feipel (Lu, 1975) and Jean Bechameil (Fr, 1964) began their artistic collaboration in 2008. Three years later, they represented Luxembourg at the Venice Biennale. Since then, their work, once described by the Guardian as "an intriguing marriage between chic design and slapstick surrealism with apocalyptic overtones", has received much attention.
For example, they took part in the Lustwarande (2015), had a big show in Casino Luxembourg (2017), made a large installation in public space in Nantes (2020), took part of the La littorale, Biennale of contemporary art, Anglet France (2021) and the group exhibition 'Listen to Your Eyes' Museum Voorlinden (2021), for this collection presentation, art collector and museum founder Joop van Caldenborgh selected his favourites from works he has spent the past six decades collecting.
Saturday 25 March - Saturday 27 May 2023
For an overview of the available works click HERE