Like a poet, he knows how to see and reveal wonders that generally escape our attention. As a tireless observer of the everyday, he notices signs and analogies that are invisible to the naked eye and deciphers, better than anyone, quite fascinating secret relationships between things.
He welcomes us to the Domaine with a “skyquake”, a strip covered in gold – the “flesh of the gods” for the artist – sculpted out of obeche wood and seemingly levitating over the lawn.
Japanese laurels hold a particular fascination for him, representing a subtle blend between the plant and sidereal worlds. Upon contemplating the stars on their studded leaves, he makes out nebulae that reflect the cosmos and claims that, with all these plant stars, there are millions of stars on Earth and, who knows, perhaps more stars down here than there are up in the sky? In this way, he says that “the sky descends to Earth and the Earth becomes the sky”.
Marc Couturier invites us to meditate on this commonplace and yet extraordinary plant at Chaumont-sur-Loire with stained-glass windows, a seat, a carpet and other fabulous signs dotted around the Farmyard, Foot Bath and Donkey Stables.
But in the Château he will also exhibit gold strips, mysterious barrels and poetic green puddles reflecting the sky, like secret mirrors revealing the starscape.
Marc Couturier au Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, 2016 - © Éric Sander
Marc Émile Léon Couturier was born in 1946 in Mirebeau-sur-Bèze in the Côte-d’Or département. He lives and works in Paris.
Couturier first made a name for himself through his work on “Levitating Rivercraft”, and it was in the early 1990s that the concept of “Redressement” came to him: under this term, he grouped together a series of works (called Acheiropoieta in Ancient Greek, i.e. not made by human hand), whose form is providentially evocative of easily identifiable figures and landscapes. He reveals them to us without altering them. A Japanese laurel leaf becomes a stained-glass window, a piece of plasterboard becomes a “Redressement”, a stroll through Amiens gives rise to “stone cabochons” – a virtual “Redressement” of architectural elements – a curved face of a tun, found in a wine storeroom in Portugal, forms a primitive sculpture, and the presentation and illumination of fragments of the curved face in “teatrini” (puppet theatres) become a series of landscape snapshots…
At the same time, he develops works made by human hand that spark contemplation or whisk us away on other journeys: Obeche “strips” covered in gold leaf are displayed, as if suspended, on walls (“Formes simples” exhibition, Centre Pompidou Metz, June 2014); the “Drawings of the third day” in lead pencil on paper or pure graphite on immense wall drawings (Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, 2012 / Palais de Tokyo, “Inside” exhibition, Oct-Nov. 2014) hark back to the creation in Genesis; the silverpoint drawings on prepared canvas or in the form of wall drawings (MUDAM, Luxembourg / “Traces du Sacré” exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, 2008) and most recently, his pastels.
Marc Couturier's work is showcased in a range of prestigious public and private collections. He has designed stained-glass windows for Saint-Léger Church in Oisilly (Côte-d’Or), a cross and halo for the chancel of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, the altar of Saint-Denis du Saint-Sacrement Church in the Marais district in Paris and the work “Tremblement de ciel” (Skyquake), 26m - 17 tons - in gold leaf) erected