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Oeuvre Andrea Moreno Atelier Montex

Andrea Moreno 

A few days after the 19M Galerie Marseille pop-up launched on the occasion of Chanel showing their Cruise’24 collection in the city, TANK caught up with artist Andrea Moreno, whose newly commissioned piece Tita, 2024 took centre stage in the exhibition.

“The curator Caroline Perdrix knew my work: we had met even before I graduated from ceramic school [at Maison de la Céramique in Dieulefit, France], but she also came to see the graduation show and loved it. From then, we were chatting about doing collaborations and then this opportunity came up, with her asking me to be a part of the show. She pushed a lot for me to be in it because, let’s face it, I’m not really well known, and it's only been two years since I finished my studies in ceramics. I really created a different language because before I was doing more in illustration, which I studied in London. And while I did start doing ceramics like seven or eight years ago, they were very figurative. Since my studies I have developed my practice, which I'm really comfortable with, let's say for now.

A lot of my work is really personal. I left Venezuela when I was 17 and then I went to Belgium to learn French. My parents were like, “Don't come back here. We really advise you to just go study another language.” So my mom did everything to buy me a one-month course in London, and I managed to study in London in Kingston University for three years. After finishing studying illustration there, it’s quite funny but I just couldn't understand so well the illustration world, where or how to work. And then I started cooking because I had nine jobs in one year because I couldn't speak English. And I come from a cooking family. My dad is a chef and my mom is a singer and they worked together since I was born in restaurants. So by then, I was like, Yeah, I'm just gonna cook.

So I started cooking in restaurants and cafes and then I did a pop-up restaurant called Caracas Baby, which became my business in London, which was kind of hilarious. After two years of having this restaurant my boyfriend and I said “Let's move somewhere sunny because we need to feel good again. And he's from here [Marseille] so we moved here and I started getting really serious about coming back again to my art practice.

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I try to build a bridge between my origins and everything I remember, about architecture, domestic objects or things that relate to me, or my family, which is really rich territory for me. My research is to connect back to Venezuela. I feel memories are super abstract and the hammock [a new piece made for the 19M Galerie Marseille exhibition], for example, is just made up of little pieces of everything that built me as a person.

The hammock is made from an old artwork that got broken [into pieces]. So it's the leftovers of a piece that I built before, which was a curtain that got broken at a festival where it was displayed. I connected those broken pieces with pieces from other projects that I felt weren't finished. The team at Atelier Montex [an embroidery studio], who had visited my studio and had fallen in love with the Village Curtain that I had made previously, thought to remake it. We'd been having conversations about repairs, and how important this is both in embroidery and ceramic worlds.

My sculpture work is about fragments and it's about repairing things, gluing things together, creating union - which we’ve made in the hammock, and using a lot of what's available. We found rubbish in the studio - I like using that word because we give value to pieces that were in use already or put aside - and the idea was to build the connection between all of these materials.

The shape came after because I wanted to find a shape that was embroidered but also similar to objects from where I’m from in Venezuela - and next door to my region is a village where they make hammocks. It is an embroidered object that is close to my family history as I always had one at my house. It’s a container of people, and I don't know if it makes any sense, but for me, it's an object that symbolises a migration.

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The collaboration with Aska Yamashita [Director of Atelier Montex since 2017] was amazing because I was in direct conversation with her, to go through the off-cut samples from Montex’s studio, to talk about how to embroider ceramics and translate the embroidery into a plastic language, with five or six different types of embroidery sequences. We selected colours together (you’ll find I chose a lot of food-oriented colours) and we worked together to finish the composition with their team so that every piece in the Hammock is unique.”

To coincide with the CHANEL 2024/25 Cruise collection fashion show on 2 May in Marseille, le19M is setting up a free temporary gallery that is open to the public in the Fort Saint-Jean of the Mucem. From 3 to 26 May, la Galerie du 19M Marseille will provide a space for dialogue and expression between the Métiers d’art and the Marseille art scene.

For more information, click here.