Jean-François Moriceau and Petra Mrzyk

The artist couple Jean-François Moriceau and Petra Mrzyk, who live in France, transpose in a simple and direct way their whimsical world of ideas into multipart installations made of drawings. With an excessive and humorous expression, the acutely observed everyday absurdities with topical references are reproduced on paper, wallpaper or directly on the wall. The spontaneous line of Mouriceau and Mrzyk captures gestures, attitudes, decorative elements or scenes from everyday life and enriches them through artistic associations.

One drawing, for example, shows a primate-couple who move synchronically in tune to music. Their hairy bodies are only partly covered with t-shirts on which the slogan ‘United we stand’ can be read. This quotation, that originates from the American hymn of freedom by John Dickenson from 1768, was used after 11 September 2001 as a slogan to promote a national cohesion that supposedly could include all classes and ethnicities of American society. The ‘United we stand’ sticker with the American flag was to be seen on every bus and every building. The following line of the hymn ‘divided we fall’ was left out.

The drawings of Moriceau and Mrzyk provoke a surreal cancellation of our habits of perception and focus on the mutability of visual language. Formally the quick mode of production of the two artists can be compared to ‘écriture automatique’; the technique used by the surrealists to produce intuitive writing. In this way, Moriceau and Mrzyk create their drawings from a blend of real and invented models to develop a dense world of image, icons and everyday objects. Among these, fantasy-creatures appear, which in this mass of images are hard to even perceive. The artists produce a non-hierarchical connection between the most different elements that show the simultaneity of current themes, such as pop cultural references. This arrangement aims at the possibility of the spectator’s evaluation. The viewer asks herself how many images the eye can take in untroubled and without subjecting them to critical examination. The seemingly inextricable mass in which all the figures and symbols merge with one another refers to the flood of images that people are exposed to through the mass media.

By Nina Köller, translated by Eva May


"sans titre" (2002) Courtesy Air de Paris.