At first glance Marc Sparfel’s elegant sculptures may not initially look like they fit our recycled theme, however these beautifully crafted animals have been shaped by discarded materials.
French born Sparfel spent his childhood in the countryside in Brittany, surrounded by nature and animals. He was particularly fascinated by horses and cows, a theme that is evident in his work.
After moving to Barcelona in 1999 he was immediately intrigued by the amount of furniture abandoned in the street and decided to do something with it.
Gradually he began to incorporate these materials in his sculptures, first in a long series of masks, inspired by tribal African artwork, and later he also used these in animals of all types and sizes applying his own unique style.
He describes how he began accumulating more and more discarded objects “Initially, I found the furnishings by chance during my walks, but later realized that in every neighborhood there is a set day to leave large items in the street. So I started walking around the old town according to the “furniture days” of each neighborhood to recover the material bit by bit. Over time, the neighbors began to leave me chairs in front of my workshop …”
He uses the deconstruction of the found furniture to trigger an idea and to gain inspiration “The first step is the design of the piece, the second is its construction. I draw my inspiration directly from the forms I find when dismantling the furniture.”
Admittedly this process does not always have the desired outcome and being a perfectionist he is sometimes unable to finish a piece “Sometimes I have the beginning of an idea, and can envision the head, horns, and legs, but some piece that should complete the sculpture is missing, which makes the design process longer. I have used some pieces of furniture many years after recovering them in the street.”
However when he does finish a sculpture, the result is an exquisite work of art.
These delicate, smooth and complex sculptures prove that reused materials can take on many forms, whether it is obvious or not.
Sparfel currently resides in Spain and his work is exhibited in galleries in Spain, France and Germany, and will soon be shown in the United States.