Mer du Sud


Sponge, brush and plastic boxes on painted wood

51.3 x 40.8 x 9 cm (covered) 39 x 29 cm (uncovered)

Mer du Sud (South Sea) depicts underwater life in an imaginary sea. A fish with a decorative aesthetic is frozen amidst plastic sea sponges and sea urchins made of brushes. Flashy colours heighten the artificiality of this poetic subaquatic scene.

The shininess and artifice of colourful new objects lie at the heart of the series of works to which Mer du Sud belongs, where Martial Raysse links the practice of assemblage to the advertising image. Driven by his quest for a "pure, sanitised" world and unrelenting commitment to the present, Raysse uses consumer goods, which became his favourite materials to use as early as 1959.

Mer du Sud perfectly exemplifies his “Hygiene of Vision”. It was shown for the first time by the Pinault Collection during the 2015 retrospective exhibition devoted to the artist at the Palazzo Grassi.