Sunday, November 20, 2011

Marc Sparfel - The European Bricolage Connection

Writing this blog and Art in the Studio have led to some surprising virtual connections for me with readers who let me know that they have appreciated posts I have written. One of those surprise connections happened recently when I received an email from Marc Sparfel, a sculptor born in Brittany, France, who has lived in Barcelona for the post several years. He wrote to me when Google turned up a post I had written on Lee Bontecou*, whose work he had seen at the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

Some of Marc Sparfel's bricolage sculptures

I thought that Marc's work would be perfect for this blog because he creates sculptures from furniture and wood he finds on the streets of Barcelona. He says that he started late in sculpture, having begun only about seven years ago, but has always used found wood because it is free but mostly because "sometimes there is so much wood furniture in the street that you can 'hear' the trees shout! It's really sad." Also he enjoys the fact that there is a history within the materials and the idea of transformation which symbolizes the possibility of a different life. Chairs are his favorites. He loves disassembling them and giving them another opportunity that may be less stressful for them than having to support people as they did in their life as chairs.

In front of Marc's studio - Fossil 2, 75" x 71" x 8"

Fossil 1, 51" x 51" x 2.75"

Fossil 3, 126" x 85" x 8"

Fossil 6, 65" x 82" x 8"

(Note that I have converted all the dimensions into inches from centimeters.) Marc says that he is usually able to find planks of wood for the backgrounds of these fossil pieces. He cuts and pieces the wood and then paints or stains it before mounting the sculpture on the background.

Since I understand that in France there are stores called "Mr. Bricolage" that are like Home Depot, made for the weekend warrior or do-it-yourselfer, I asked Marc if there was a bad connotation to the term "bricolage" in Europe. He said that "it can be quite perjorative in regard to art, as [in] the expression "Sunday artists," but if you think it's the best term in the U.S. to describe the type of work I do, maybe it's a good solution."

I picked these Fossil pieces above because they are more like the bas relief that I usually show here, but it looks like most of Marc's work is freestanding sculpture, so here are some examples:

Aphrodite and Satire (I think that might be Saturn)
Aphrodite is 53" x 29.5" x 12", Satire is 59" x 33" x 12"

Elephants, 37" x 14" x 10"

Oiseau Senufo (Senufo Bird), 39" x 21.5" x 12"

Guerrier (Warrior) III, 37" x 37" x 16"

Grand Taureau (Large Bull), 53" x 29.5" x 12"

Marc shows in Barcelona and is also represented by Friedmann-Hahn Gallery in Berlin. Meeting him and seeing his work through the magic of the internet was really a pleasure and I am glad that we could make this connection. Who would ever imagine even a couple of years ago that the world would become so much smaller this way?

Marc Sparfel, Sculptor

*Note:  I wrote three posts on Lee Bontecou in 2010 in Art in the Studio, here are the links


  1. Fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed Sparfel's work and the blog. Thank you for sharing-

  2. Thanks so much for sharing Marc's work. I love the African influence and actually have a Senufo bird in my collection.

  3. Sorry, I don't check your Bricollage blog often enough. Love Marc's work.
    Interestingly, I am working on a project involving the "chair" as the point of departure for an invitational exhibition in Jan. Although chairs figured into my work about 15 years ago, I haven't addressed the subject in wax or in 3/D at all. A bit out of my comfort zone and rather exciting. Marc's work would be fitting for this exhibition.