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François Mascarello: Dynamic Landscapes

Jul 11, 2024

For TLmag39: The Culture of the Object, we interviewed the multi-talented designer, painter and choreographer about his recent body of work, some of which was presented at Galerie BSL in the fall of 2023.

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François Mascarello has never been bothered by boundaries or categories; painter, sculptor, dancer, choreographer, musician and designer are some of the creative disciplines that the Frenchman engages with, while always keeping a sense of freedom, “to do what I want with who I want and at my own pace”, he explains. In his Paris studio, this freedom is seen in his approach to making – whether a side table, painting or book- shelf, in which objects become like landscapes, layered, abstract and dynamic, moving between 2D and 3D forms. He always begins with a pencil sketch, “I have piles of sketchbooks like little notes which, when put together, will form a score”. From there he begins his process that is deeply rooted in the handmade and savoir-faire but is unafraid of technology and the relationship between the two methods. He uses a computer to zoom into the details of his landscape paintings, taking inspiration from these abstracted forms and translating them into the pattern for a sewn silk fabric painting, enamelled tabletop, or other object.

Curvilinear shapes, rounded forms, references to nature, linear perspectives merge into one another like a shifting landscape – with different shades of colours adding to the sense of movement. “I start from the gesture to cross the computer screen and return to the gesture. The scale of my creations is also very important because what is expressed on a very small sketch can be enlarged to infinity and vice versa”.

What transforms each piece is the dedicated details found in the craftsmanship applied to each work. Meticulous and precise, using traditional techniques applied by hand, the object takes on a new life that embraces its history in a contemporary way. Colour is an essential part of the process and is adapted depending on the technique being used. Mascarello intuitively works with the inherent textures and qualities of a particular craft to capture the light, tone and contrast he desires.

For a new sculpture, installed last year as part of his exhibition “Dynamic Landscape(s)” with Galerie BSL in Paris, Mascarello used mineral composite to create a large-scale bookcase. The shelf becomes like a “living landscape” with nooks and curves, depth and diagonals that welcome the unique placement of objects and personal items to complement its form. “It develops according the view of others and the desire of the person who will acquire it,” he says. The entire “Dynamic” series, including benches and stools, is meant to be customisable and multifunctional, giving the user a freedom to use it as it suits best. While stucco is often seen as a humble material or one used for a maquette more than a final piece, here Mascarello reveals its potential. Floor lamps involve a variety of techniques including straw marquetry, stucco, wood and steel to become free-standing sculptures that emit a soft, glowing light.

Mascarello connects his process and work to that of a choreographer, in which a particular movement in dance must look free and loose but has been developed over weeks or months of training and practice. In this same way, the movement and gesture in his work evokes a sense of spontaneity despite the long process of research, trial and error and time that goes into each piece. This innate sense of freedom and curiosity is what infuses each object with its own life.


@ francoismascarello



François Mascarello
Galerie BSL - Paris Dynamic Landscape, 2023, Functional micro architecture: bookcase, desk, nomadic seating, Mineral composite, 237 x 454 x 115 cm, Unique piece. Both a showcase and a composition to contemplate, Dynamic Landscape is meant to be customisable in function of the dimensions of a wall and a user’s needs, thus catering a desire for unique and personalised spaces. Both a showcase and a composition to contemplate, Dynamic Landscape is meant to be customisable in function of the dimensions of a wall and a user’s needs, thus catering a desire for unique and personalised spaces. Photo credit: Stéphane Aboudaram/We Are Contents
Detail of Dynamic Landscape
Galerie BSL 09 2023 Installation view, Galerie BSL, Dynamic Bench Ensemble, 2023, Modular set of two benches, two seats, Mineral composite for indoor and outdoor use, 45/76 x 138 x 130 cm and 45/60 x 120 x 130 cm. Photo by Alain Cornu, Courtesy of Galerie BSL
Galerie BSL 09 2023 Installation view, Galerie BSL featuring, New York – Wild Silk, 23.9, 2023, Raw silk cut and handsewn with invisible stitches on white linen, 185 x 130 x 3 cm, Unique piece; Edifice Table Light Sculpture, 2018, Straw marquetry, stucco, wood, steel, LEDs, 78 x 33 x 33 cm, Unique piece; Straw Landscape, 23.5, 2023, Side table, Straw marquetry, 24-carat gold leaf on steel, satin varnish, 40 x 55 x 54 cm, Limited edition of 4
Lacquer Landscape 22.4, 2022, Coffee table, Lacquer marquetry, patinated brass, 48 x 165 x 54 cm, Unique piece

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