Néo-surréaliste collagiste

Jacques Marchal


Review : Marjac, collagist artist

Collages to think about, to dream of and to smile at...

(By Lucien RAMA – Art Critic AIAP Unesco)

Jacques Marchal is a self-taught artist. Yet his work as a collage artist, which he commenced in 2004, bears the hallmark of sound artistic roots inspired by the photography of the Surrealists, members of a literary, cultural and artistic movement in the first half of the 20th century.

Like many Belgian artists, Marjac (as he is known in the art world) is a successor to this movement and enjoys impressive technical control.

From 2004 he applied himself to the difficult area of composition before going on to explore a highly personal poetic universe of images that he cuts up and recomposes by hand.

No digital manipulation methods are used in his work. The fruits of his labours are entirely the product of his own talents.

Since that period, his efforts have focused primarily on an unusual world: a world of paper where doors open into an imaginary world that never loses the feel of reality.

For him, as for the Surrealists, the world can only be transformed by poetic sensibility in the face of reality. And this may be why he uses sombre environments to express quite personal, and always internalised, feelings.

Marjac diverts objects away from their primary function, thus revealing their various possibilities and leaving observers to determine their new meanings.

In this way he uncovers a universe that might appear strange and extravagant but that also allows us to embark on a journey coloured with poetry and dreams. He did, of course, work in maritime and air transport for a long time...

The Surrealism that pervades his work is of surprising maturity. His pieces of cut paper, his superimposed, inlaid fragments, create imaginary - unimaginable - spaces. This artist, who loves wide open spaces, has not succumbed to the burning desire to reveal inner truths, satisfying instead his simple and legitimate will to create.

Yet the absurdity of life is dominant, behind his subtle humour: all his works are based on commonplace, ordinary situations that he twists into absurd, quirky unreality.

And this is probably the reason why, when I stand before his collages, I believe in the power of the image as a source of regeneration and internal transformation, an immense power.

The viewer will marvel at the poetic elegance of his icons, with their carefully chosen colours, this artist's intentions having little to do with representation. He reassembles, in a way, the human comedy, in all its might and beauty, to remind us that we are just one minuscule component.

With him, our view of the world is nothing more that a fantastic approximation.

He tells us metaphorical stories like those educational parables recounted in some cultures. With him, everything becomes nuanced and intangible, but intimately present.


Lucien Rama
  Art Critic AIAP Unesco

 The collage


A major contribution to 20th century art, the collage is present in most artistic movements that have succeeded it: from cubism, where it finds its origin, to pop art and conceptual art, via surrealism and abstract art.

Centred on an adaptation of images and prints, the collage is much more than a technique: it is a genuine creation that revolutionises the field of representation.

It is an art in its own right which, through its richness and diversity, combines fantasy and unbridled imagination, as well as caustic irreverence for some.

It is not know-how that creates art, but the idea, the final image that is born from it! The artist's creation prevails over the execution, which is only a tool.

"The collage seems like an easy art but, like automatic writing, it only offers successes if one has an innate sense of poetry." (Sarane Alexandrian)


Hereunder, collages by Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso and Jacques Prévert.