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Autobiographical Exploration in Fabien Merelle Exhibition Coming to Art Bartschi & Cie

  • fabien merelle exhibition
March 12, 2016
Alias of Ksenija Pantelić

The world of dreams, and the insecurities that pop-up when we sleep, make up the brave drawings and sculptures of the young French artist, Fabien Mérelle. To have the courage to show the world of insecurities and anxieties of the most intimate moment, that of sleep, and to show oneself as a vulnerable person, that we all are, is an act that most of us are not willing to do. For his second solo show Recontruire at Art Bärtschi & Cie, Fabien Mérelle’s exhibition plunges us into his intimate world through his depiction of himself, his family members and personal environment.

fabien merelle exhibition
Left: Fabien Mérelle – Chasse aux vautours / Right: Fabien Mérelle – Le Printemps


It is night and the pyjamas are on. The world that waits is the world that we sometimes fear, sometimes use and sometimes wish to even hide from the morning light. The dream world, the packed symbolism that comes in our dreams is the place used as a starting point for minute scale drawings on a sparse white background. Using himself as a chief protagonist, depicting himself sometimes naked or in his pyjamas, the artist reminds us that all of the strange and surreal things he shows us are appearing in his dreams. Depicting himself in his earlier works being attacked by giant bugs, or struggling to hold the weight of an entire elephant on his shoulders, Mérelle doesn’t depict himself as a super-hero. His dreams are not nightmares with gruesome monsters but are dreams that emotionally drain and leave the artist groggy upon waking up, and depict the artist as just a man.

fabien merelle exhibition
Left: Fabien Mérelle – Andre / Right: Fabien Mérelle – Du miel sur la plaie

Autobiographical Tales

At the first glance, Mérelle’s drawings seem to appear to represent the natural world. The insistence on the anatomical precision, an art historical tradition borrowed from great artists, such as Albrecht Dürer, only further add to an element of doubt. We are able to recognize and understand what we see, but the confusion often arises through the surrealism element of the drawings. The artist shows us a phantasmagoric world of tales, fusing the animal and human world into hybrid figures. We are also made aware of the alternation between the infinitely small and large in this wonderland of dreams. This time, for the exhibition Recontruire, the artist shows us the world of vulnerability and fear, influenced by the recent event in the artist’s life, that of becoming the father of two. It is possibly because of this event, that the artist presents himself in actions that are used to guide, teach and protect his family members.

fabien merelle exhibition
Left: Fabien Mérelle – Aimant / Right: Fabien Mérelle – Aimant, detail

Fabien Mérelle exhibition at Art Bärtschi & Cie

For the occasion of his second solo exhibition Recontruire at Art Bärtschi & Cie, lasting from March 17th – May 14th, 2016, Fabien Mérelle presents a series of recent drawings and a bronze sculpture. Following the line of his previous works, the artist’s clean and precise graphic line, with irony transforms us into his dream world and re-introduces us to his family and his environment.

Even though his drawings are in a sense self-portraits, they are also surrealist scenes that we can easily relate to as they reflect the insecurities and anxieties that follow every human being. The artist brings to light the world of our inner thoughts and mental scenarios, packed with heavily symbolic images that demonstrates the courage of the vulnerability.

All images courtesy of Fabien Mérelle & Art Bärtschi & Cie. Featured images in slider: Fabien Mérelle – Sous son corps.