Interview with Marc Lambrechts

By Veronica Posth - Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Interview with Marc Lambrechts

Marc Lambrechts was born in Lier, Belgium and currently lives and works in New York, United States. Lambrechts’s works are immersive worlds of colours. Stratified pigments, organic and inorganic materials merge in magnetic surfaces. Time, Cosmos, Earth, Communication, Balance are the motif of Lambrechts’s works.

Image: Spring and Bubble Chamber Event, Marc Lambrechts


Marc Lambrechts was born in Lier, Belgium and currently lives and works in New York, United States. Lambrechts’s works are immersive worlds of colours. Stratified pigments, organic and inorganic materials merge in magnetic surfaces. Time, Cosmos, Earth, Communication, Balance are the motif of Lambrechts’s works. 


ArtDependence (AD): Have you always felt connected to the arts? If not, when did you feel your sense of belonging to the art world?

Marc Lambrechts (ML): My father painted a little bit in his spare time, and he had many local artist friends. I think that I got my interest in the arts that way. We always had a lot of art in the house from his friends. 

My sense of belonging came later in the last year of art school, when I realised that I wasn’t all that bad. I felt that I could take it to a higher level.


Spring and Bubble Chamber Event, Marc Lambrechts


AD: You studied printmaking and after some years working as visual artist in charge of graphics and displays, you moved to New York and started painting. Did New York inspired you working as a painter? If so, how?

ML: In the beginning when I moved to New York, I had not really painted yet. I started making bigger and bigger prints and works on paper, and found it a little frustrating. I rented a room in Tribeca/China town in Manhattan from a Japanese artist in a big loft. When she went to Japan for a couple of months I was able to use her big studio and that is where I started to paint. Seeing all the art around me and the street scenes in New York was very inspiring, it was a real eye opener for me. All the different cultures, the graffiti, the street venders on Canal Street, the bar scene where the artists would hang out in Soho and Tribeca, the big tall buildings. It was a bohemian atmosphere back then, and very interesting. Everything was possible.

My plan was to stay for a month or two, but I quickly ran out of cash and was fortunate enough to find a little freelance job cleaning slides for a presentation company, where I quickly started doing special effects for them. The freelance situation allowed me to spend a lot of time on my own work. I could never have done that in Belgium, so I was very happy and wanted to stay longer. I never intended to stay, but life kept me here. Recently my family and I moved to France for a couple of years. It is the first time living outside New York City in 35 years. Curious how that is going to work.

AD: How was your arrival in New York? Did you easily establish contacts within the contemporary art scene? Any particular stories you would like to share about that time?

ML: Finding your way in the contemporary art world in New York is not easy now and it was not easy then. When I first arrived in New York, I was doing my printmaking at the Manhattan Graphics Center, where many local and international artists/printmakers would pass through. Working in the center introduced me to the art world in general. We all shared the same aspirations. I participated in competitions and was selected for several group exhibitions.


Impression Green and Black 2018


In 1987 my work was selected for a 4 person show at the Soho Center for Visual Art, sponsored by the Aldrich Museum for Contemporary Art. After the exhibition they selected one of my works for the Museum.

Trying to get your work into a gallery here is difficult. Artists from all over the world are trying to get a piece of the gallery action. There is a lot of competition. After many rejections, Tibor de Nagy Gallery uptown gave me an opportunity to be in a 4 people group show. They got good response and sold some works, so they offered me a one personal exhibition the next year, which was reviewed in Art News.

AD: The cosmic and earth scenarios emerging in your paintings seem penetrable and infinite. Can you tell me more about your fascination for the cosmic and the terrestrial world? And to paint such mesmerising representations, do you get inspired looking at images or is it the result of your imagination-interpretation? 


ML: My fascination with the universe started as a small boy. I would sit up at night to look at the stars and wonder. I grew up in a village in Belgium and there was not a lot of light pollution back then, so if it wasn’t cloudy or raining I could see a beautiful night sky. Why that fascination I don’t know. It is later on in life that I realised that from very early in my work I translated that fascination. My work would look like maps, with incisions criss crossing the surface. Mysterious worlds, scarred and ephemeral. When I saw images from Hubble Space telescope and from Bubble Chamber collisions I couldn’t help but to use those for my art. I manipulate and use them, the real world is so fantastic I want to use it in these works. Constellations are correct, but not perfect. I like to convey the poetry and mystery of our existence.


African Heritage, Marc Lambrechts


AD: What the cosmos represents for you? And what is your perception of time?

ML: Honestly, I can not get my head around it. It is something that has always fascinated me. Even as a kid I always wanted to know all the questions related to the cosmos,  time, and  our creation, and why things are the way they are. I grew up in the catholic tradition. When you die that’s when we will have the answers to all the questions I was told. Very interesting, who knows! The fact that the universe comes from a tiny dot, or that it can be squeezed again in that tiny dot.. think of it. Or the entanglement of particles, scientist think now that this phenomenon creates the fabric that holds everything together. 

AD: Your works are composed by overlapped materials, organic and inorganic. Can you explain more your technique? And are all of your paintings and sculptures made with the same stratified process?

ML: I work with a big variety of materials, they can range from paintings on plaster, to working with organic materials like dried corn husk, or dried banana leaves, or burnt wood, sometimes pieces of glass, metal, etc.

They are all pieces of the world we live in, so I use them to try to tell my story. I like to work with materials that I am surrounded with. When I was working in Bali, Indonesia, I worked with banana leaves, corn husk, bamboo, black lava sand. 

In Africa with material from old used wood doors or reed used for fencing or local fabrics. In New York, discarded wood from houses, scored wood from marble cutting tables, etc. The materials are just a means to tell my story.

AD: What stratification means for you?

ML: In my construction pieces I use the discarded wood from old houses to make compositions.

Some are put in metal frames to create positive and negative spaces.


Endless music, Marc Lambrechts


Others I make layered compositions from which I make a plaster imprint. The two together work as one. The main panel is constructed from old recycled wood. The plaster panel is an impression from the wooden composition. As one can see, the shape and the paint from the wood transfer onto the plaster, and some of the plaster stays on the wood,  thus creating almost the same image in reverse. With this I like to draw attention to the duality in our world. The stratification also refers to the layers of geographical phenomenons and of time passing by.

AD: What comes next? Any upcoming shows where we can see your work?

ML: I have been selected for a big exhibition in Monaco about ART AND SCIENCE, organised by the AIAP National Monegasque Committee, 4 Qui Antoine 1er, on the harbor. The international focus this year is on New York, and I am one of the selected.

Veronica Posth studied History of Art at the University of Florence and at the University of Glasgow. Specialised in Contemporary Art and Modern Museology she later gained a Master in Curatorial Studies and Exhibition Design between the Fine Art Academy of Florence and the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. Since her University studies, she has been working on conceptualising exhibitions as independent curator and as art and dance critic, reviewer. After many years between London and Florence, she is now based in Berlin.

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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