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Margaret Michel




Margaret Michel’s objects have a particular character in that they are animated.  Far from the traditional static images in marble or stone or the illusional perspective of a painted surface, they reflect a contemporary world where the sense of passing time prevails overs the space that is reserved for our planet.

Her works are an open field to the probable meeting of the artist’s intuition and the spectators imagination.  Objects are presented isolated or in complex installations that tell stories.  Sound is often present, an added element to a scenario that is unfolding.  The eye is distracted by a detail then guided by a movement.

“And the Crow Counts”, suggests the beating of a heart - systolic, diastolic, certain reminiscences of the photographer Muybridge are introduced into the heart of her installations.  The photographic analysis of the movement of a woman walking are illustrated both in “Carbon 14” and in the kinetic box series "The Walk".

The artist takes hold of her potential by integrating and parodying scientific techniques. 
Her constructions are light, sensitive and elaborate, issuing from the art of assemblage and related to the works of Rebecca Horn or certain Nouveaux Realistes.  She uses recycled objects, gears, wheels and pieces of typewriters or a taxidermist's animals.  In “Symbiotic Associations“ a motor ticks out the seconds until a spring drops a piano hammer which hits a cymbal that resounds and travels into a space uniting us in our relational existence, man and beast, through time. 

The movement becomes the creator in works like “The Tree” where mechanical elements draw an image which is inseparable from the process of it’s creation.   She works with the same expressive poetry of a Jean Tinguely where the principle of movement cannot be disconnected from life.  The unfolding of a fan opens and closes like a respiration in “Diaphanous Dance”.

Margaret Michel disassociates objects from their initial function to give them a new reading, rich, surprising and humorist . In “Frankenchair”,  an unusually tall chair walks with an slow ungainly gate, its large eyes, (photos of a far away nebula taken by the Hubble telescope) peer out and question.

“The Wave”, on a panel of polished stainless steel, a glass circle the color of the ocean moves under a mechanism from an old typewriter.  The lettered and numbered keys are lifted by each successive wave.  The scraping of the blue disc against the keys produces a sound not unlike the pounding of a wave on the shore.  Surprising in it’s eloquence and exquisitely simple in it’s realisation of sound and movement.  It is a work that is intuitive, where our interrogations and our fundamental doubts are concentrated on a problematic becoming and where one reaches a single conclusion: carpe diem.

excerpts from an introduction to the catalog, Margaret Michel by Gilbert Perlain, Conservator of the Musee D''Art Moderne et Contemporaine de Nice, France