Apollo Magazine

In the studio with… Marc Camille Chaimowicz

The elusive artist discourages visitors but enjoys the company of a mysterious wooden statue that was left behind by a previous occupant

The artist Marc Camille Chaimowicz at home

Marc Camille Chaimowicz, photographed at home in c.1977. Courtesy the artist and Cabinet London

The Paris-born, London-based artist Marc Camille Chaimowicz has been exploring the ways in which we create and respond to personal and public environments for over five decades. His large-scale installations combine everything from found objects, painting, performance and sculpture to lighting and ceramics. They draw on a broad range of art historical references, popular culture and personal memory to create a layered, shifting sense of time. For his solo exhibition, ‘Nuit américaine’, at WIELS in Brussels (until 13 August) the artist has created a fragmented reconstruction of the living room where he has lived and worked for the past 40 years in South London, including hand-printed wallpaper, furniture that he has designed and table-top assemblages of sentimental items.

Where is your studio?

My studio is first and foremost in my head, but the material realisation of work happens either on a large table in my salon in London or when exhibiting, it happens in situ.

Does your studio practice follow a particular routine?

Only in that each new project determines its particular discipline.

How would you describe the atmosphere of your studio?

Given that it is through the making of work that I come to many self-realisations, I’d say generally, gratifying.

Celebration? Realife Revisited (1972–2000), Marc Camille Chaimowicz. Sammlung Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography, Zurich; © the artist

Is there anything you would change about the space?

In an ideal world, I would have the studio close to a 24 hour restaurant or bar.

What’s the strangest object in your studio?

There is an acute triangle at one end of my salon, which is currently occupied by an enigmatic and what I presume to be an Aboriginal figure, carved from a piece of dark wood. She is naked, but decorated with earrings and has a wonderful big smile. She is perhaps awaiting to be reclaimed by her owner who left suddenly and without notice, but in the meantime, she makes for wonderful company.

Installation view of ‘Marc Camille Chaimowicz: Nuit américaine’ at WIELS, Brussels, 2023. Photo: We Document Art.

Who is the most interesting visitor you’ve had to your studio?

Other than my assistant, visitors are generally discouraged, but I did once see, at the height of last summer’s heatwave, a sweet little mouse who had somehow scaled the three external walls.

Is anything or anyone banned from your studio?

For health reasons, and somewhat regrettably, smoking is no longer possible…

‘Marc Camille Chaimowicz: Nuit américaine’ is at WIELS in Brussels until 13 August.

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