‘My approach to creativity is grounded in my curiosity’
– Marianne MarpLondon
Take a look at the work of London artist Marianne MarpLondon and you’ll see that it lies somewhere between reality and fantasy – her own personal dream world.
Marplondon loves photographing people and places, yet equally enjoys creating fantasy worlds, drawing inspiration from the world around her and taking it to a whole new level. When asked about her process, Marianne says she asks questions through her work. The process of her research and the creation of her artwork are all about trying to understand and find meaning in the world.
The ‘Icons of Modern Civilization’ collection focuses on the female figure but more specifically the clothing draped over it. Her thoughts were that the female dress is always seen as an object of desire and that in comparison, the woman wearing it is seen as holding very little value to the world.
The artwork in this collection presents a superficial representation of women – showing them as faceless and nameless. Their persona is reduced to a piece of cloth and the point Marplondon is making is that it shouldn’t be that way. Her intention with the ‘Icons of Modern Civilization’ is to inspire women to fight for the right to their own unique identity.
Out of the entire collection, it was Icon 9 and Icon 13 that really struck a chord with me. Both images show women draped in a patterned veil, effectively covering up whom they are. However my interpretation is that Icon 9 is using her clothing (or veil if you like) to stand out, whereas the woman in Icon 13 is forced to blend in. The bright colours used in Icon 9 re-affirm this representation, as do the subdued colours used in Icon 13.
The message MarpLondon is sending through her artwork is that women need to fight to be more than just the clothes they wear. It is ultimately their choice whether they stand out or blend in.
What I really love about Icon 9 and Icon 13 is how MarpLondon has integrated her artwork with pop culture. It adds an interesting edge to the pieces of artwork and really makes it stand out.
You could also interpret the use of the Coca Cola bottle in Icon 9 as a representation of the fact that in society, women are often seen as sex objects, used to sell products. This shouldn’t be the way society sees women and what MarpLondon is trying to do is inspire women to stand up and take action. They are more than just tools for advertising and more than just objects of desire for men.
When asked about her collection, Marplondon said ‘it seems to me that the female body can be covered up, stripped naked, pushed up, shown entirely or hid in drapes as much or as little as one likes. Regardless of what she chooses, the world seldom allows her to forget that she is, first and foremost, an alluring sex object.”
Her thoughts are that if women are anything more than ‘a trophy’ or something to ‘sell cars’ they are considered to be a superwoman and can never just be a human being.
Women have always used the female body and fashion as tools in the fight for equality and this is a concept that has been cleverly explored in MarpLondon’s work. Whilst clothing is often deemed as something to either enhance or cover up women, within her artwork she aims to show that clothing is a woman’s own personal tool and not someone else’s.
The artist’s other collections follow a similar pattern of taking concepts to the extreme in order to push the boundaries of society. MarpLondon’s aim is to merge pop culture with social commentary, personal experiences and fictional narratives in order to create artwork that lies somewhere between reality and fantasy.
Marianne or MarpLondon, as she is known in the industry, draws a lot of inspiration from London – the city she now calls home. She describes London as being a very welcoming city and somewhere that is equally as curious as she is herself. As an artist, she feels she learns a lot from the streets and sees them as her teacher. Her fascination with the people and cultures of London is what inspired her to take up street photography.
Whatever type of artwork you are into, it can’t be denied that MarpLondon is a truly talented artist. Not only is her use of colour, patterns and materials exquisite but also the meaning behind her collection is also truly inspirational.
If you haven’t already, I definitely suggest heading on over to the Lahd Gallery website and taking a look at some of the other beautiful and powerful artworks by MarpLondon.