The artist-humanist and optical art genius of Monaco Marcos Marin is widely renowned, very close to the Monegasque Royal Family and the Monegasque Fashion Federation – whose sculptures can be enjoyed at the Monaco Yacht Club and around the Chapiteau de Fonvieille.
Interview Angela Donava
– Marcos, how did your career begin?
It all started in distant Brazil, where I was born. I am the son of a film producer and an opera singer. At the age of five, I took classical piano lessons at the São Paulo Conservatory of Music and began a career as a virtuoso pianist at a noticeably young age, eventually moving to Angers, France to study music.
However, he has always had a passion for painting and in 1990 he met the “op-art” artist Vasarely at the Cité des Arts in Paris and, intrigued by his work, he set off on an adventure into the world of optical art.
After this encounter, everything changed, and I started to learn how to combine optical elements with elements of a portrait with a mixture of classicism and modernity. Gradually my work began to sell, and it was time to “pack up the piano”. The decision was the right one since my work was awarded two prizes: the Fiat Prize for Christopher Columbus as part of the 500th anniversary regarding the discovery of America (Fiat Museum in Turin) and the Philips Collection Prize for the Mona Lisa.
– What is music to you?
Music has accompanied me all my life. I always have a piano in every studio I work in. Music is one of my roots. My works are the materialization of my music.
– Tell us about the milestones of your career.
In this decade, I played an important role in the cultural development between Brazil and France for the UNESCO IAAP. I moved to the USA, in Miami Beach, where I opened a studio. 2003 saw my first monumental sculpture, which was exhibited at the Coconut Grove Convention Center for the opening of the Arte Americas art fair and I also won the “Best in Florida” competition.
– So how did you end up in Monaco?
In 2004 at Art Basel, I met Delfina Pastor, who, inspired by my work, invited me to come and present my work in Monaco. The opening of the exhibition, which featured a magnificent portrait of Princess Grace in the newly opened Monaco Museum, and my performance, took place a few days after the death of Prince Rainier. Then Prince Albert asked me to create an official monument dedicated to his father. This monument was unveiled on 18 January 2006 at the entrance of the Chapiteau de Fonvieille. Then I met the fashion designer and patron Pierre Cardin, who offered me the opportunity to create large-scale works in the Lacoste studio.
In the meantime, I was working in Portugal with Stanley Ho on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Estoril Casino. The patron gave me two medals of honour: one for an exhibition at the Casino Gallery, and the other for a portrait of Stanley Ho in Macao.
It was only in 2009 that I officially settled in Monaco and opened my studio opposite the Prince’s Palace. Monaco may be small, but all the prominent personalities holiday here and on the Côte d’Azur at least once a year, so I do not have to travel, all my models come to me! Making portraits of presidents and royal families, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla. Later, President Sarkozy asked me to do a whole series of portraits of African presidents. One of my works is a portrait of the legendary American actor Michael Douglas, whose sculpture was gifted by Monaco.
– A few words about your current exhibition
“Optical Art Exhibition in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat”.
Shina Mauro, curator of the exhibition at the Espace Namouna in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, has selected works that are emblematic of this approach.
About fifty pieces mixing engravings, serigraphs, kinetic totems, acrylic paintings, and sculptures will be presented indoors from 15 July to 15 August, while the monumental portraits of emblematic figures such as David Niven, Jean Cocteau, Gustave Eiffel, or Princess Grace of Monaco, will remain until the end of September on the Promenade des Arts.
– What plans do you have for the future?
My plans are ambitious, and I am confident that I will be able to achieve them. But it will all depend on the timing of things, I’m in no hurry…