Marguerite Carnec – Winner of World Illustration Award 2017

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Marguertie Carnec is one of our artists currently exhibiting at our London offices as part of the Clyde & Co Art Award Program 2016/17. All nine of her  ‘Lieu de Vie’ series was selected by the Clyde & Co Art Committee last year from Camberwell College of Arts, and has since gained professional recognition.

Marguerite was selected as the WIA2017 Editorial New Talent Category Winner. She was one of only 15 artists to win a prize from this year’s awards and was selected out of 48 shortlisted artists. Three of the works from the collection here at Clyde & Co will now go on tour  as part of the World Illustration Awards. The tour will start with an exhibition at Somerset House which will run from the 31 July – 28 August 2017 and is free entry.

During her year as an artist supported by the Clyde & Co Art Award’s Professional Development Program, Marguerite has attended seminars by Ian Chance, Director of the MA in Creative Entrepreneurship at the University of East Anglia.

‘Clyde & Co’s program is a huge opportunity, if I had another year I would use it even better. We live such a fast-paced life, you tend to forget about how much such a program can give you, like you forget about the amazing workshop facilities in your first year at uni. The seminars I attended were really helpful and it was an exciting experience to open up to an audience about my work that is so different [to that in the art world] .’

Lieu de Vie – Marguerite Carnec, 2016

Monoprint on Fabriano Paper, 76 x 105.5 cm

The haunting black and white monoprints scratched and carved with immaculate detail depict scenes from the refugee camp in Calais, known as the Jungle. Marguerite’s expressive and honest approach to her work has resulted in a visceral depiction of the chaotic scenes that she experienced whilst volunteering in Calais in 2015.

‘The demolition of the Jungle began in March 2016 with the southern part of the camp, evicting thousand of migrants. ‘Lieu de Vie’ (living place) was spray painted across the camp, in the hope these living spaces would not be destroyed. Whilst volunteering in Calais in September 2015, I processed what shocked and confused me by recording everything I witnessed through drawing, photography and writing. On my return to the UK, I researched the refugee crisis at length, in an attempt to find a rational explanation to the tragedy that was taking place in the country I call home. ‘The biggest problem for me was the fact that I started the project with the intention of finding some overall statement that characterised the whole crisis. The bulk of my research was directed towards this goal – attaining some kind of objective ‘truth’ – but it proved impossible to achieve. Even though I was reading first hand accounts from all over the world, the images I created were hard and impersonal. It was for this reason that for the final piece I returned solely to what I had experienced, what I knew for sure. The work is therefore nothing more than what I saw. Gendarmes surveying people’s lives from above, local people deliberately driving their car into a group of refugees, a Sudanese man pouring me tea and showing me his Instagram full of selfies.’

There is a unique atmosphere around Marguerite’s prints. Making a monoprint starts from the darkest shadows; an even layer of thick black is scraped and scratched to reveal light. Marguerite does this in a way that while a deep darkness of shadowed figures and landscapes is retained, the light hangs around the carved figures like clouds of fog, leaving the ‘absolute truth’ always concealed, always imagined. There is a dream-like vision here – bodies appear only as glowing outlines with the delicate carvings confusing where one body begins and where the other one ends.

‘My aim was to give an alternate representation to the media’s biased black and white coverage of the Jungle that often dehumanised refugees. It illustrates my personal experience of meeting those that lived there, witnessing their everyday struggles, the injustice of their situation and the hardships they faced whilst waiting for asylum.’

Have a look at more of Marguerite’s work here:


Instagram: @margueritecarnec 

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