Built with beers
Marcin Sobolev, a young artist from Belgium, part migratory bird and part kingfisher, has embarked upon a journey into the collective family memory. Hovering and swooping, his work is as poetic as it is faux-naif. Is this utopia or the butterfly effect?
The great thing about Marcin (born in Brussels in 1981) is his capacity to love birds and cats alike (and above all to love when "all cats are grey"), to fuse tenderness with a clutch of familiar objects on which he superimposes shrewd metaphors, to cultivate his outsized, fairytale fruit and pull out the worm - all without advertising the fact, effortlessly, like a child who just decides to grow up.
If you want to unravel Marcin's creative thread, you must be aware of his inner journey, the need that has gripped him over the last 10 years (amply attested to in his first exhibition at Dominique Lang's in Dudelange last January). You’ll need to understand his origins, his Polish and Russian roots, which Marcin uses and abuses (even going as far as spelling his name in Cyrillic script) and which are given fresh impetus by stories and confidences shared by his grandmother and followed up on pilgrimages - journeys across the frontiers of the imagination.
Marcin is not one for wild flights of fancy or digital experimentation. He is a cabinetmaker by training and he uses his saw and paintbrush to reclaim the landscapes he has inherited from memory. His use of line – the birch tree, emblematic of poor and often sandy soils – but also his use of stitching – wood and wool, endemic and humble materials, combined with more folkloric elements (colours and pompons) – are a constant thread leading back to traditional know-how, in tandem with a style of writing which is first and foremost visual.
On top of this personal perspective, the artist persists in overlaying "an extra dose of soul", a fun outer layer, a freshness which is as spontaneous as it is carefully applied (something conspicuous by its absence on the artistic scene at the moment), as if innocence were a muscle that had to be kept in trim.