Spicing things Up! – with Spice Art


Laurent Mareschal

Jameel Prize 3
Laurent Mareschal was born Paris, where he is still based. Much of his work is underpinned by a preoccupation with incommunicability, and therefore invites audience involvement. Mareschal lived in Israel for several years, and his work displays Hebrew and Arabic influences. In his studio, Mareschal explains why he uses ephemeral materials such as spices, soap and food in order to evoke memories and highlight our own fragility. The works are heavily influenced by decorative elements of Middle-Eastern art and design.
Most of my work is quite ephemeral. There is something about the smell that you can’t really refuse. It gets inside of you and makes you remember something. You can play with the colour and the smell and what it makes you remember and I am playing with that. You’ve just got a very thin layer of spices and it affects your effected memory in a way.

My work is often site specific. When I will install the piece Beiti at the V&A I will use ten different stencils. There will be five different spices and of course it deals with time since the work is fading away, so I love to work with time and that the work in fact is not a sculpture made out of marble but is fading away after some time.

Laurent Mareschal 2

The patterns are influenced by Arabic geometry. The first time that I made it we didn’t put a rope around it so people just walked on it and ruined it completely as they thought they were real tiles. So I want people to look and think OK, they are real tiles and suddenly if they look another time they will realise it is made out of spices and it will surprise them and they will think wow, this guy is completely nuts, he has been working for a week and it will just vanish in a second. So I think it is quite a funny way to look at the work and most of the people are looking at it like that I think.

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Photo from the Jameel Exhibition at the National Library Singapore (Ian Burnet)

Watch Laurent Mareschal create his spice art on V & A video


About ianburnet

Author of the book, Spice Islands. Which tells the History, Romance and Adventure of the spice trade from the Moluccas in Eastern Indonesia over a period of 2000 years. Author of the book, East Indies.Which tells the history of the struggle between the Portuguese Crown, the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company for supremacy in the Eastern Seas. Author of the book 'Archipelago - A Journey Across Indonesia'. Author of the book 'Where Australia Collides with Asia' Author of the book 'The Tasman Map'. Author of the book 'Eastern Voyages'.
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