“The body is at the centre of my practice, whether in content or in form, and my physical labour, my own body making the work, as much as the audience’s reaction to the work, is as important as what is being pictured”
AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?
AM: I was born in Bobigny, France and I moved to London to study art at 18, so in a way I feel like I am from both now! I started engaging with art as a teenager, doing life modelling clay classes and taking staged photographs of my friends. I think my first important encounter was with the Surrealists, which I had to do a paper on for school.
AT: When did it become serious?
AM: When I got to the Royal College of Art to do my Masters, I realised the time and financial investment at stake meant I was committing to try art making professionally.
AT: Are there any persons who have been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?
AM: I didn’t know at the time, but Shoair Mavlian who was then assistant at TATE modern supported my work straight from graduation. We have collaborated since on various projects; including my current solo show Styx at the National Center for Photography in Ballarat, Australia. Aron Morel who published my first book Bleu allowed for the work to be disseminated globally. The first two gallerists I worked with: Niccolo Fano from Materia in Rome and Marisa Bellani from Roman Road in London gave me my first solo shows in galleries and art fairs. There are many more people who have supported me in various ways; the help and support from other artists have been crucial, but the people mentioned above were key in making the work public.
Orlando, Installation, SHOW RCA, 2014
AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?
AM: I work across sculpture, installation and photography. I believe that content and form come hand in hand, so my materials are selected according to each project’s subject. The body is at the centre of my practice, whether in content or in form, and my physical labour, my own body making the work, as much as the audience’s reaction to the work, is as important as what is being pictured. I have an ongoing day to day practice of making independent pieces, researching, trying out ideas and materials. Then in parallel there is the installation work, which usually comes with a solo show and involves intense research and planning. These are always elaborated with the exhibition space in mind, whether it is architecturally or geographically.
AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?
AM: When working on an exhibition or installation I try to think about the space and the works in relation to the body of the viewer. In addition to the subject and ideas behind it, I try to make it a poetic and physical experience.
AT: What does your research consist of? & 9. Where does the inspiration for the work come from?
AM: Myths have been a recurrent reference in my practice. I am very interested in their symbolics, the way they have influenced our culture and their relevance today. Generally speaking my research is rather broad though, drawing from theory, to popular culture, films and specific points in History depending on the subject.
AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?
AM: Making work is a bit of a roller coaster of emotions; from the beginning which is driven by curiosity, to pulling threads from various research & connecting dots, to the excitement of making, passing by stress and doubts. My practice is research and process based so even if I set out with an intention, the work shifts its physical outcome according to the research, tests, materials, space etc.
Sucer La Nuit, Solo show, Musée Des Beaux Arts Le Locle, Switzerland, 2019
AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?
AM: Sometimes you just know, and sometimes it’s the deadline of an exhibition. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the body of work is finished, but it is a resolution of an iteration at a given point in time and space which is important for the development of the work in the future.
AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?
AM: Tai Shani, who taught me at the RCA and who I then went on to assist for a few years, has had a huge impact on my practice. Her research, her freedom in the use of various medium and materials, and her determination continue to inspire me.
AT: How important is the role of social media for you?
AM: It is of course hard to battle the addictive nature and peer pressure which come with social media. However for me, it has been a useful tool in connecting with curators and writers or staying in touch with artist friends internationally.
AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?
AM: There are so many wrong things about the way the system works I wouldn’t even know where to start ! I personally feel it is vital to make the art world more accessible and to reframe it around the artists. Occasionally you meet great people along the way, and that keeps you going.
Maman, Photograph on polyester silk, 2019
AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?
AM: The most daunting is unfortunately how to afford the time and money to do the work. The most rewarding is when people tell you that the work touched them in some way.
AT: What do you do besides art?
AM: Art making takes up most of my time, but I have had many different jobs to support it, sometimes completely unrelated. I’ve been lucky that the most recent ones have been teaching at ECAL and working as an assistant curator for an independent & non for profit art organization in London called The Horse Hospital.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
AM: To be able to keep making work !
ADYTA, Solo show, Duesseldorf Photo Weekend, 2018
Alix Marie (b.1989) is a French multidisciplinary artist who lives between London and Paris, working mostly across the mediums of photography, sculpture and installation. She graduated from Central Saint Martins College, London, in 2011 with a first class honours degree in fine art and later completed an MA in photography at the Royal College of Art, London. Marie’s work explores our relationship to bodies and their representation with an interest in addressing gender stereotypes through visceral, genuine and an often humorous approach.