Social success being based upon the quality of someone’s social interactions, people design sets of rules and codes in which they seek to live in. In order to have a feeling of belonging in our society, we need to adapt our behaviours and go by a range of tacit rules. Visual artist Maryse Otjacques questions, confronts and analyses our social conventions and codes through her work.
One of her most powerful piece addresses our relationship with society and how we act and interact with social codes. “Meaning” depicts an unusual crossword puzzle where instead of having alphabet letters, the artist moulded her hands in the shape of the equivalent letters in sign language. Playful and fun at first, it becomes paradoxical the moment the viewer figures out the words behind them.
Three horizontal words are formed with frequently heard words in our daily life and in the media: security, strategy and responsibility. Whichever words she creates horizontally will always represent passive words. On the contrary, more dynamic and strong words will be chosen vertically. In this piece, the word resistance is going through the 3 horizontal words. Viewers are able to interpret the piece differently based on their own background and experience.
Jumping to another work from the artist, “Tapisserie résiliente” is a dazzling installation where the closer you look, the better you’ll see the contrasting beauty of the pattern and the violence of it.
Contemporary art can seem like a very hermetic world, only open to a selected few. Inspired by her everyday life, Maryse aims to make meaningful art, using common reference points, which gives the ability of understanding her work by a broader audience.
Also intrigued by our society’s clichés, Maryse made a series of work with human hairs as main material. Hairs are indeed a symbol of femininity and each woman relate to it differently. The clichés of sensual and feminine women with long hair or the active and decisive women with short hair are still around but what about our perception when they are no longer fixed to the head? The moment hairs are cut at the hairdresser or found in the bathtub, they create a repulsive feeling and the seductive effect is completely forgotten. Questioning this paradox, Maryse created a series called “Utérus”, works symbolizing the femininity of a uterus, made of hairs being spit out by pipes.
Her work is meant to make you rethink your usual habits and brings you contradictory feelings. And she absolutely loves it! No matter what kind of reaction you will get when you see her work, the important for her is that you start questioning yourself.
Maryse Otjacques will be presenting her work in Liège at Cdlt, a young Arts & Design gallery. Running from March 24th until May 12th, I strongly suggest you to pass by their dynamic and welcoming art space to have a chat with the owners Stéphanie and Marine and discover inspiring art!
The Art Connector
©All photos provided by the artist