For most pieces of furniture, the end of the road lies in a second-hand store or a landfill. If they are lucky, then they wind up in the workshop of French artist Marc Sparfel who uses the cast off relics to create sculptures of animals. Showing a little love to discarded appointments, he rescues the unwanted and transforms them into a piece of fine art. Taking advantage of existing flowing lines and curves, the animals are immediately recognizable and familiar both as natural forms and man-made objects.
In every old piece of furniture lies a personality waiting to emerge. Artist Marc Sparfel has the unique talent of seeing the souls trapped in table legs and chair backs and gives new life and value to scrapped materials. His series of animal sculptures and masks exhibit the workings of a mind that enjoys creating a kind of visual dialogue. Connecting the natural world with the human-made universe, his animals are a tribute to the shapes and textures found in both.
Says Sparfel of his work, “Abandoned furniture that has no purpose any more or simply isn’t fashionable. The ever changing cycle, outdated shapes and the hour of triumph for Swedish design. Chairs, wardrobes and hat stands, a truly urban forest growing out of the asphalt, climbing street lamps and walls….this is my forest, my world where I walk with pleasure, always excited by the surprises the new harvest brings, where I hand pick the best pieces, and choose the woods as if they were fruit on a tree. Once in my workshop, my sanctuary, my laboratory, I start the process of transformation, sometimes slow and painful but always intuitive, searching for a certain elegance and poetry made from wood.”
After moving to Barcelona, Spain in 1999 he would scour the streets during “furniture days” in each neighborhood for material. Soon, neighbors began to leave chairs and tables in front of his workshop. Drawing upon a childhood fascination with cows and horses, African masks, and tribal artwork, Sparfel will first designs his piece, and then begin construction. Sometimes, he has an entire animal planned as he dismantles the furniture, or they emerge as he gathers each element. A self-described perfectionist, he hunts for the exact horn or leg for every composition. Masterfully crafted, his collection of animals and are a beautiful and inventive way to recycle.