Marion Robin’s practice is site-specific. Her propositions highlight the way in which they narrowly depend on the locations in which they are set. They provide an opportunity to visually and physically experience a location based on what can be observed on site. The starting point of these experiences often comes from architectural elements, decorative patterns, paintings, histories and details, which, when spatialised, anticipate and play on the presence of visitors.
“Marion Robin’s artistic practice could be best described as a pursuit of the outdoors: the painting jumps out of the picture and settles in a relationship with its surroundings.
The first step of Robin’s work is observation: she takes in the site she will work in until she notices and isolates a detail, which she will then “unravel” and explore to create her intervention. This may consist in redrawing layouts or working on a motif or colour range. The illusion is a fleeting game – there will be nothing left of the intervention once it is over. In this sense, the plastic gesture is shaped in relation to a specific detail that becomes a powerful transformative element. It is a practice that chooses to focus on small things. Marion Robin captures the “insignificance” of places. By doing so, she questions our ability to see.
Through her actions, Robin breathes new life into details and revisits decorative motifs. She makes them part of a story that goes against the idea that “ornament is crime”, to loosely quote Adolf Loos. There is also a discreet and caring mending process in this rehabilitative work.
In the third movement, the artist constructs a body of work that thwarts optics – floors are lifted up, walls are breached with strange openings, full of inversions that displace us. But because she focuses on the “weak motif”, on the vulnerable element, she gives it a new dimension that enables her to transform the whole.
Her work is akin to places of continuation that the so-called minor arts embody. When the artist shines a light on buried memories, her way of appropriating the space is in a sense similar to that of an archaeologist, whose role is also to bring things to light.” […]
Excerpt from Troubler le regard, Elsa Mazeau & Marion Robin, Lucia Sagradini, Multitudes No. 70, 2018
Translated by Lucy Pons, 2020