Pascal Aumasson, curator of the Fine arts Museum of Brest, France.
What’s really distinctive about A. Emmanuelle’s approch is the complete emphaty of the artist with the maritime fishing communities. In her work, boats are of secondary importance. What matters most are the people, the crowds. At first glance we might imagine that her ex-voto are concerned with death and shipwreck. If we look closely it’s clear that the majority of her scenes swarm with life. Crowds, the subject, the humanisation of the subject, these are AEM’s concern.
There is too — and it’s something I feel is new in her repertoire — an approach that’s completely committed to dreams, completely oniric, about the sky, the horizon. Sometimes in fact these 3 things are totally intermingled, thanks to both various artistics artifices that are organised amids blues that are absolutely sublime; and to an exceptional refinement, that we can see inside a box, in a concentrated space, where the glass is an intermediary that frees the eye and the mind to observe.
If we link her work with certain popular, long-standing traditions, the fact that she systematically places a glass over her boxes, it’s a bit as if she’s a sort of photographic dark room, she places a surface on the scene that allows you to explore it in detail.
It’s difficult to link A. Emmanuelle’s works with any particular artistic direction.
She is a woman who goes her own way, a free artist. At time you can see the influence of surrealism in her work, that’s undeniable, but it’s not at all consitent. There is a wonderland inside A. Emmanuelle Marpeau’s boxes, because hers is an active imagination, constantly to go, as spectacular and self-evident for us as it’s colourful.
When she evokes dreamlike scenes, or ocean depths, you might think of them as the depths that the dead inhabit, but her method is to evoke them by enlarging and intensifying the blue of the sea, the blue of the sky, and organising them together… A. Emmanuelle Marpeau’s ocean depths aren’t funereal. These are places of her imagining, places that she dreams of, and the glass plate that seals the box, cements her dream.
Quoted words by Christophe Rey, film-maker.