Marroni-Ouanely is an artistic duo that excels on the contemporary abstract imagery. Working hard across various mediums, such as large-scale canvases, sculptures, photography, collage and video, the two emerging artists strive to develop a visual language through a creative balance between appropriation, abstract structure and intuitive overtones. Marroni and Ouanely’s employment of spontaneous gestures and materials, such as pen, children paint or pencils, creatively favour irreversible decisions for the painting result. Simultaneously their efforts also underline the crucial role of intuition in the artwork’s making process. The painting outcomes appear to mainly rely on uncertainty and less prepared actions on canvas; their artistic method is signified by energetic, expressive brushstrokes and intentionally puts a remarkable emphasis on the painters’ hand movements.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Presented in alluring pale hues on the canvases’ surface, Marroni and Ouanely’s paintings bring up vivid and joyful compositions reminiscent of a playground atmosphere. Arrangements of powerful gestural strokes -flexible, almost unfinished linear markings and childish animal depictions- demonstrate the artistic duo’s recent imagery. What draws the attention here is the balanced contradiction between opposing concepts and qualities, like the unveiling sensibilities of their chosen motifs on canvas next to a contemporary visual language.
Automatic configurations are evidently stated; expressions of a personal vocabulary are infused with intimate feelings, messages or words. Taking into account the playful dimension of their painting technique, both artists consider it like a ‘game’ where the levels of self-expression are enhanced and encouraged as if “all moves are allowed”. Aiming to expand their creative method, the two right-handed artists Marroni and Ouanely underline their intention to use “their left hand in order to destabilize the technique, erase the know-how and thus leave the field open to their unconscious”. This artistic form of work deliberates the way both artists desire to make art experiments and develop fearless creations.
Their recent body of work puts a distinctive emphasis on the representation of the dog. Through the prism of an immature touch, the artists capture polyvalent depictions of dogs; witty representations, uncanny dog shapes and naive or unpretentious thin streams of paint construct some important architectural information while developing such imagery on canvas. Overlapping depictions, seemingly unsophisticated concepts showcasing failure and fun at the same time equally contribute in Marroni and Ouanely’s Cagnara series paintings. In addition, their practice incorporates an innovative idea of error -scratches and scribbles on canvases recalling elements of failure– rendering a narrative of abstract imperfections. Explorative and expressive tracery are executed on large-scale canvases with a free sensibility and pure abstract visibility. Their new paintings test concepts of imperfection through spontaneity, intuition and a thorough lexicon of abstraction.
M_O Thomas Marroni (Rome, 1984) and Romain Ouanely (Paris, 1987) are a French – Italian artistic duo established in 2010. They live and work between Paris and Rome. They both have exhibited their work in many art spaces, galleries and festivals across France and Italy.
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Marroni-Ouanely: We see our creation process primarily as a game.We seek to destabilize our technique in experimenting with materials and unusual tools, using even the left hand to draw, being both right-handed.Working as a duo is an exercise in itself: in our work, whether painting or object, it is always matter of Assembly.
AV: How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
M_O: De-contacted, humorous and sincere.
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
M_O: Joyce Pensato, Jacovitti and French Baroque Songs.
AV: How do two artists work together for the creation of an artwork? Does the painting process turn to be collaborative or do you work separately?
M_O: Beside our research and personal sketches, our production process is completely collaborative: we are working on the same canvas four hands.
AV: Creating a new painting can be a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
M_O: No, on the contrary, our personal life is rather a source of inspiration for our work.
AV: How do you know when painting/artwork is finished?
M_O: Working together helps us to answer this question: the culmination of the drawing must be a Visual evidence for both. Currently, we work precisely on the blank white space of the image and what it can tell; This question is even more central.
AV: What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, how does it affect your process and where is it now based?
M_O: Our new studio is located in the 18th district of Paris. We needed a more spacious place to work on large formats and installations.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
M_O: Grayson Perry at Monnaie de Paris and the necropolis of the Kings of France in the Saint-Denis cathedral.
AV: What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
M_O: It is important for us to keep the balance between the experimental aspect of our work and the fact that it remains accessible to all.We often use the Visual codes and characters from popular culture, recognizable to all but with a narrative and aesthetic bias.
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
M_O: Total love.
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
M_O: We mostly work in the afternoon 😉
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
M_O: Full of natural red wine!
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
M_O: Finalize “Cagnara”, our current project, which will be exposed to Paris. We would also like to work with galleries in England, Germany or Denmark to open up our work to this new European scene.
© All images are courtesy of Marroni- Ounaley