L’Entretien avec Chantal Maquet – l’humain comme point de départ à la création

Dans cette nouvelle édition de la rubrique « L’Entretien », Art Work Circle a discuté avec l’artiste Chantal Maquet. L’occasion de parler phénomènes sociaux et projets culturels innovants. 
Les œuvres de Chantal Maquet sont disponibles à lachat et à la location sur Art Work Circle depuis 2016.

Can you present yourself in few words?

I’m an artist. I define myself as a feminist. I’m a vegan. And I try to be as much an anti-racist as possible. … and I’m Luxembourgish.

How and when did you get in touch with art?

I guess it was when I went to school in Luxembourg City. Back then we still had this huge lunch break. I often used these two hours to visit the CASINO and other museums (there was no MUDAM yet), this is how I got into contact with contemporary art.

Could you tell us about your artistic approach?

I can give it a try. My approach revolves around projects and exhibitions. My work is not only about a single painting or object, but often more about ideas that need multiple paintings to be expressed. When I decide on a topic for an exhibition, I start with a lot of research, I read books and also use the possibilities of the www. My artistic approach is defined by the act of putting all the gathered information together, not only as a combination, but more like a distillation.

Where do you find the inspiration?

I don’t search for inspiration. I rather try to focus and put important things to the front and those of less importance to the background (or I leave them away entirely). For this process inspiration is not necessary – or maybe it is constantly there, because this world is so complex, overwhelming and overloaded with information – inspiration comes when you focus.

What message/emotion do you want to convey through your works?

My works are not about a clear message, but more about a mindset. In my last exhibition for example, I tried to make people aware of their responsibilities in this world. It would be really great if my work made people stop for a moment and start reflecting about their position of power. I don’t like to tell people what to think, but love it when my work gives people a new way to see the world.

Do you have a creation memory that you want to share?

Sharing is a good keyword! I am very excited about a collaboration with LUCODA (Luxembourg Collective of Dance) for Esch2022 with the Pavle Beljanski Museum, NoviSad (Serbia) as a Tandem Partner. For the project “ChoreoChroma“ we bring dance and painting into a dialog on stage. We showed a first outcome of our research in Banannefabrik in October this year. I really enjoyed the research and rehearsals. We were playing around, we tried things out and reflected on the process. This is an extraordinary project: as I work most of the time alone in my studio and for this creation I am in constant exchange with my colleagues. It is very enriching to share the reflections and the creative process.

If you had to choose a piece of work of which you are the most proud of ? Why?

It’s the exhibition I was mentioning already, it took place at the beginning of this year in Centre d’Art Nei Liicht, Dudelange. The exhibition was called “dat huet jo näischt mat mir ze dinn“ and treated the topic of colonialism and racism in Luxemburg.
I showed some of the colorful paintings people might know me for, at the same time I presented an audio installation. The audience could listen to snips of interviews I made with people who grew up in Luxembourg and had experienced racism in school (I was focusing on childhood in my questions). The room was basically empty and people could walk around and listen to the statements. It was pretty intense. As a white person you are not affected by racism and it’s easy just to ignore it. But when you listen to these testimonials in your own mother tongue, in Luxembourgish, these experiences feel very close, and not something that happened far away.

For the exhibition I did also a video, sharing my reflections on history and our positioning now. All in all, it is a very personal work and political in the same time. I researched business companies based in Luxembourg active in cobalt extraction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some just have a mailbox in Luxembourg and not even a single employee. I am not an expert in financial business, so I just showed the research. I put contracts, informations and press articles together and left it to the visitors to judge for themselves.

Coming back to your question: I am proud of this exhibition because I see it as a statement about an important topic of our time.

What are your future projects?

Right now I’m working on the continuation of the exhibition I mentioned before. There was the idea to make an educational file for the exhibition and this idea developed into a project of its own. It’s funded by the Oeuvre Grand-Duchesse Charlotte, I’m making a graphic novel telling the story, I told in the film, combining it with additional research. In this way, I am digging even deeper into racism, identity, history and fair trade and presenting it in a very accessible form. It will also be available also as a tool to use when discussing these topics in school.

  • What did you do in first today ? I prepared some tea
  • What’s the main subject of your work in one word ? Humans
  • You would never leave your house without… Clothes (laugh)
  • Your “happy place” ? My place
  • Your favorite word ? Schockela
  • Your guilty pleasure ? I don’t understand the concept of guilt (laugh) I don’t feel guilty for what I’m doing … so … none
  • What’s your dream project ? Always the next one !