b 1946 (France)
Living on the outskirts of Paris, FRANCIS MARSHALL’s mysterious practice is inextricably intertwined with his unconventional life. Working over forty-years to create a society of more than four-hundred figurative sculptures, his oeuvre exists in a world of its own.
MARSHALL’s stuffed objects and figures are made from pieces of wood, rags, old nylons, discarded bicycles, radios, cupboards and debris found on the banks of the River Seine. His is the material of the discarded, a world of apparent darkness, filled with dystopian humour. His population are assembled in familiar quotidian scenes, they collapse into splintered furniture, they arrange themselves around kitchen tables. Yet in this world of dilapidation, there is levity and charm, it captivates and lures us into spending time in the company of this strangely comforting country cast.
Faces smile up from slumped bodies and peek through cupboard doors, an obedient dog waits for his grinning master and old shoes sit in neat lines as bundles of discarded clothes tumble from mouldy shelving. A tree of poetic musings points to nowhere, as a haggard girl makes off on a bright pink bicycle.
Championed by Alain Bourbonnais, the legendary founder of La Fabuloserie, MARSHALL’s work was first made public in 1973 at Atelier Jacob in Paris. Since then he has been exhibited at the Musee d’Art Modern (France), The American Visionary Art Museum (USA) and at Hayward Gallery in the seminal Outsiders exhibition in 1979.
MARSHALL’s works are included in collections internationally as well as in The Museum of Everything.