Elissa Marchal (France)

The coloured light that appears in the works of French artist Elissa Marchal focuses on the space between the different components of the painting, thereby generating a new dimension. Her artistic concept is based on painting, treating it as a fundamental form and inviting the viewer to perceive the basic structure of the medium and its diverse characteristics. The colour-associated materiality of painting is developed to emphasise perception through the appearing light.


The exhibition features three principal series from Marchal’s recent creative output – Louvres, Frames and Horizons. In them, she invites the viewer to concentrate on perception. Frames and Louvres lay the emphasis on the reflected light appearing on the wall. Thus, the void becomes part of the artwork and glows with reflected colour painted on the sides of the wooden sticks. Meanwhile, in Horizons, Marchal achieves intense chromatic depth, translucency and radiance at the junction of two equally sized colour fields where colours meet and interact in the manner of a natural horizon. The artist believes the visible light that appears at the core of her works is their central and integral component that emphasises the immaterial properties of colour. In her paintings, Marchal abandons brushes and uses a very specific technique – she pours the paint and lets it flow, as if the painting expressed itself, producing an extra smooth painted surface.


Marchal reverts to conceptual techniques to create abstract artworks in a minimalist aesthetic to give a multidimensional visual experience. When the viewers move around and look at the artist’s work from different perspectives, they discover new colours and dimensions as the colours cast a reflected glow on the surfaces that the artwork comes into contact with. This way, Marchal’s creativity engages the visual and emotional capacities of her viewers.


“In a minimalist way, I focus on the essence of what painting effectively is: colour and light. With that, we can see a tension between antagonistic elements such as horizontal/vertical, filled/empty, surface/depth, solid/liquid, movement/droop, unit/fragment, painting/sculpture… Here, my line of thought echoes Heraclites, who believed that the unity of reality, rather than being one and unchanging, was constituted by opposites.” /Elissa Marchal/


Elissa Marchal (1973) is a contemporary visual artist currently based in Paris. A regular participant of exhibitions and art fairs (Art Elysées, Moderne Art Fair) since 2006, she has exhibited widely in France, most notably in Salon de Montrouge and Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, and Japan. The current exhibition at Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre is Marchal’s first show on Latvian soil.


Tatjana Černova

Exhibition period: 29 October 2021 – 16 January 2022.

Daugavpils pilsētas dome            VKKF            Francijas institūts            Caparol            Axon