Totem V

Totem V
wood, pvc, fiberglass
210 x 44 centimeters

A central aspect of Théo Mercier’s practice is the collecting, subversion, assembling and often paradoxical combination of meticulously chosen objects. The result is a collection  of hybrid, polymorphic, polyvocal, ambiguous works, which have lost their origins as well as their use. With them, Théo Mercier orges a very specific form of exoticism, which is cross-cultural, cross-geographical, and cross-temporal. He emphasizes this through a mise en scène that causes the display to waver constantly, successively suggesting a cabinet of curiosities, a loot room, a warehouse, a studio, a group photograph… Lying between real and imaginary
anthropology, the artist’s approach is close to that of an explorer, bringing objects back from both existing and non-existent worlds, as if they were evidence for journeys that either did or did not exist. For the series Back to Basics and Gender Studies, Théo Mercier combined African dance masks to elements that are specific to Papuans masks (interventions on the ears and eyebrows), to which he grafted an undulating PVC nose symbolizing the undulation of dancing bodies, and situating the objects somewhere between mask and instrument.