Marcel Schmitz

Marcel Schmitz

Marcel Schmitz (*1966) was born in the town of Bastogne in eastern Belgium. He has worked at the La “S” Grand Atelier workshop for mentally handicapped artists in nearby Vielsalm since 2007. One of his defining characteristics is the fact that he was born with Down Syndrome. In terms of subject matter, Schmitz’s art is narrowly focused on the theme of urban architecture. Whether making three-dimensional objects from paper or layered drawings and graphic works, Schmitz is always exploring imaginary cityscapes. In his drawings and paintings, cities are disassembled into individual planes, and the buildings – made up of dozens of windows – overlap one another on the paper like multiple photographic exposures. He freely combines drawing with painting and printmaking, in particular linocut monotypes. Marcel Schmitz creates technical drawings and floorplans, sometimes both at once, and likes to use bird’s-eye view (or rather, plane’s-eye view) perspectives to give his works a highly personal, hallucinatory dimension. Only occasionally do vehicles traverse his uninhabited cities, as if they were trying to give these alienating places a sense of human scale. These concrete elements link Schmitz’s works with their real-life counterparts; otherwise, his creations might feel like sophisticated abstract collages. Schmitz like to turn his cities into three-dimensional models that he shrouds in embroidered fabrics and covers in printed papers. His models, drawings, and paintings transform solid, structured reality into dreamlike perspectives that capture the essence of the city – its monumentality and anonymity, but also its unique poetry – with a remarkable convincingness and intensity.

 

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