Marie Cloquet (b. 1976, Ghent, Belgium) creates fragmented scenes of ethereal displacement in her works inspired by the West African coastal town of Nouadhibou. In what she calls “collateral damage,” she reveals chaos left behind by modernization, inducing a sense of lyrical expansiveness in her works—a feeling of beauty, loss, and melancholy.

 

Cloquet builds imaginary worlds with distorted photographs—where marbled skies rest on beaches and islands of makeshift homes litter the naked sea. In it, she explores what she refers to as “parallel” planes of existence, in which beauty and ruin coexist—where remnants of European Imperialism are embedded and washed upon the West African shoreline. Cloquet captures these “impressions” through photographs, which are then torn and reconstructed. She distorts and stretches these images beyond their original scale, manipulating perspective and size; they are then printed on drawing paper with a light-sensitive emulsion, over which she uses watercolor to paint over. Cloquet abstracts physical space and introduces a “peripheral” perspective of modern reality, in which she allows her viewers to experience the dualities of human development in the natural world.

 

There is a false sense of security in her works, yet there also exists a sense of urgency to take shelter in the small crevices of her makeshift homes. It is her response to making sense of a chaotic world. Her barren landscapes are depictions of a society, a rejected society, in which progress has been suspended and left behind. Cloquet reveals a hidden space, touched, but not yet molded by modern civilization. Her works are something familiar yet foreign— a reconciliation of modern objects placed within a nostalgic environment, where traces of colonial civilization still exists in the modern world.

 

Born in 1976, Cloquet received her education in LUCA School of Arts in Gent, Belgium, where, having been influenced by her family, she had initially wanted to pursue the profession of architecture. Her deep-rooted interest in the field is still remnant in her works, which she began to show to the public in the early 2000s. Since then, Cloquet has held solo exhibitions at Koraalberg Art Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium; Annie Gentils Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan; and more.

 

Cloquet currently lives and works in Gent, Belgium.