Marinette Cueco works her incredible magic with plant matter, which she has collected, sculpted, braided and woven all her life. Here at Chaumont-sur-Loire she presents delicate herbaria made from petals and leaves that she has collected by chance during her walks.
Playing with both colour and shape, she unveils infinite riches and diversity in these incredibly poetic natural creations.
The habit of the plant has guided the artist into positioning the pressed and dried leaves, roots and stems in their natural positions of movement. If you observe the work a bit closer, you will notice details that characterise their botanical identity that natural-dye experts will recognise and the uninitiated will discover. From further away, a symphony of shapes and colours is revealed. The whole assemblage can be read like a large score where the dried plants play the role of musical notes, but instead of seeing the symbols and hearing the notes to which they correspond in your head, you see parts of plants which bring to mind colourful visions of shimmering fabric. This is because the plants that have been brought together are the source of the most beautiful colours that humankind has ever learnt to develop, to embellish their infinitely diverse textile creations.
Flower petals and squashed berries produce shades of crimson, blue and purple that are sometimes ephemeral. The bushes of our thickets and the trees of our forests give us infinite shades of red, brown, grey and black that their tannins, either used alone or combined with iron salts, can be transferred to both textile fibres and leather.
Leaves and petals can resemble portable herbaria, collections of poetry, romantic fragments or even books of hours or prayer books. They can be held in the hand. They unfold in winter, spring, summer, autumn, forming a cycle that opens and closes with the petals of the almond tree. They are the waiting time for a verdict, time hanging by a thread and they are the love which holds this thread together.
Since the 1960s, Marinette Cueco has developed her own unique work that she categorises both as natural and ephemeral.
First working with tapestry and weaving, she gradually began weaving with plants, which by the end of the 1970s had become her sole artistic activity.
In 1986 her work was exhibited at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris.
Using raw materials found in the countryside – mostly in her native Corrèze, where she lives for some of the time – Marinette Cueco creates works and installations either on-site or in the peace and quiet of her workshop.
She gathers all kinds of plant and geological material – including seeds, petals, leaves, stalks, pebbles, rare soils and peelings – combining the chosen elements to create meticulous and fascinating compositions on either a very large or very small scale.
Her works are microcosms that draw you in and restore the soul.