The paintings and drawings of the artist Margaux Derhy question the intimate. Her work, nourished by references to symbolism and expressionism, explores the ephemeral and moving nature of our memories, playing on reality and fiction.
The artist’s interest in questions related to the malleability of memory infuses her work. Inspired by research on cognitive therapies, Margaux Derhy builds a long-term work which – beyond personal traumas – is addressed to everyone. What do we do with memories of loved ones who are no more? How do we reinvent them, make them subsist, transform them to invent a living memory?
Taking up the theme of a safe place, orchestrating her compositions echoing EMDR techniques and engaging the public in her installations, artist Margaux Derhy sees painting as an intimate and collective field of experience. Thus, during her exhibition “The safe place”, the visitor was invited to enter (barefoot) in a painted installation, an intimate universe in which he had to answer a question written in a notebook: “when did you leave? childhood? “.
“Intimacy, grief, healing – my work deals with these subjects which I find are strangely absent from contemporary fine art, although they comprise so much of the subject matter of contemporary film, photography and literature. My current work explores how our understanding of even our most intimate memories is changed as we undergo the passage of life.
I use mostly acrylic & oil painting, my favourite materials, to signify almost ghostly figures with dreamy bodies and faceless characters along with poetic landscapes. With references to symbolism and expressionism paintings – the scenes I construct, both real and imagined helps to expand on themes of timelessness and placelessness.
I try to paint with a light touch and cold colours with a fluorescent background to make people feel as if they were looking into my inner world where bittersweet memories swirl around pleasant reveries about childhood.
The fragility, and ephemeral nature of memory interests me a lot, I am deeply interested by the research of the American psychologist Elizabeth Loftus about the malleability of human memory and the false memory. In my process of painting, some parts of my personal history are exaggerated or forgotten and therefore it does get modified and altered. I always put a strong modesty about speaking frankly about my own traumatic memory but I also nurtures an on-going interest in the family trauma subject and the actual therapies to overcome those suffering and how painting can play a role in those modern approaches.
By developing a very personal work around self-mythology, illusionism and a bit fantasy playing with perception and truth, I propose a pictorial work that is somehow a tribute to filial & brotherly love.”
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