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Artists of Ibiza

Artists on Ibiza

Marcel Floris

by José P Ribas


Given that the longest drive we can have here on Eivissa is no more then forty-five kilometres, at most, without having to drive back, I have the feeling that we take a trip around the entire Island when Gary and I go to visit our international artists.

We have the unique chance to listen to them talking about their intense cosmopolitan lives and the way they finally established themselves on our Island after showing their Art in many countries on several Continents.

This is what I was thinking about last Tuesday afternoon, in the pleasant company of Marcel and Mary Floris, sitting on the terrace of their house, surrounded by the original garden and forest, with a glass of tasty and healthy fresh tomato juice that Mary had made and kindly offered us.

Marcel Floris was born in France in 1914, but he’s lived a good part of his life in Venezuela, as a director of one of the biggest and best publicity and commercial-art-design companies in that country. It was also there where Marcel had his first art-exhibitions by the end of the 1950s and started to be recognised as a very talented creator.

Marcel and Mary arrived to Eivissa in 1971. With the help of Agnete, from the bar-restaurant “Cana Agnete” of Sant Carles, they found this little casa payesa, not far from Santa Eulari, and decided to buy it to make it their own home, adopting also the Island as their new homeland, where they have been living, successfully and peacefully up to present.

The house itself keeps most of its original elements, even the Ibicenco “good luck blue” in parts of its genuine “sabina roof”, obviously with the necessary changes, also enlarged with some new rooms, but keeping the local design, built with the local materials and dry-stone walls.

It is like a little museum, full of art and Pre-Columbus archaeology pieces, in which, the sensitive hand of Mary can be seen in a lot of details. Mary is a lovely person, a loving wife full of vitality and joy for life, discreet and clever, with a high artistic feeling; she does her own artistic works, like her collage that I hope she will decide to exhibit in future. It will be a real pleasure to be able to write about them soon. They are both really good people; it was a real pleasure meeting them, a privilege and honour for any society they bless by their presence.

In their finca, they have also built Marcel’s studio and workshop, of a bigger size then the house, with all the tools and materials necessary for his creative job.

Being in it, as he was showing it to us, I confessed to him my total ignorance about most of his works (I only knew the sculpture that he donated to Eivissa City and some of his things shown in the Museo d’Art Modern d’Eivissa) as well as his style of Art (Constructivist Art, as I think it is called).

Marcel, understanding my problem, lent me one of the books about his Art work, published by the “Galerie Lahumiére” of Paris, in which he explains his vision of his Art. The following is from this book.

“Not wishing here to list all my former research work, it was in 1974 that I practically abandoned metal constructions based on geometrical planes and the use of mirrors and only retained the lines that delimit them in order to create transparent volumes and spaces.

“To achieve this, the materials had to be completely different from those I had previously used, hence the choice of cables or, even better, elastic cords that had the advantage of ensuring a permanent rectilinear tension whatever the atmospheric variations might be.

“My first achievements were groups of pyramids whose scale and size, two to three metres high, were substantial enough to allow the viewer to move about these constructions evoking esoterical associations and feel the space created by the transparent planes and volumes suggested by simple straight lines.

“These works have led me to add, with the help of the same cords, in juxtaposition to the volume, the drawing of a plane on a vertical wall used as a supporting surface, so that the volume originates on one side of the plane and, in a way, materialises it.

“This juxtaposition brings about two new factors, one of them being ambiguity that makes the plane appear, by its extension of the volume, as if it were a mass in itself, and the other one being the reversibility produced by the plane drawn in axial perspective.

“The third logical step consisted in liberating me from the support, namely the wall, to create autonomous works.

“The material could no longer be the cord which necessitates one or several fixed points to tighten it. I therefore returned to the use of metal, using bars of minor section or diameter to create small-sized works that would later be designed on a larger scale.

“These later works have given me two additional effects, one being, from certain angles, the reversibility of the volume joined to the plane, the other being the transformation of the plane into a simple line when in profile.

“The reversibility both of the plane and the volume creates the illusion of a reciprocating motion completely non-existent in an inert piece of work.

“The transformation, only by the power of the mind, of the plane into the volume, the mutations of appearance into reality and reality into appearance could be interpreted as the concretion, through works of art, of the multiple subjective interpretations of the verity.

“This research and their guiding lines induced the next works such as painted-wood relieves where, owing to a particular device used in assembling the structure, two superimposed parts can create the impression of a transparency by means of an opaque material.

“These two parts appear as if they were challenging each other to obtain the predominance of one over the other. This conflict leads to a simultaneous preponderance whose result is, by this selfsame fact, the nullification of the precedence and its transformation into imaginary sensation of transparency.

“These works followed by the linear constructions of painted iron, then aluminium, with suspended bars freely revolving and swaying by the only effect of the displacement of air. These works combine a definition of the inscribed space with the suggestion of a relative space, moving, apparently traced by the mobile’s suspended bars.

“The touching of these bars among themselves or against the supporting surface produces various sounds at extremely variable intervals of silence, adding a random element of time and transformation.

“The iron constructions present an ambiguity created by the real angles joining together the planes suggested by the surrounding lines and the angles set up on a same plane. As the random transformation and the time element due to the mobile parts subsist, the sound is practically non-existent.

“As a different approach, the designing of mobiles and small-sized geometrical constructions made of wire mesh which encircle space between their transparent planes add, by mere shifting movement, the shimmering effects of a moiré as well as the dematerialization of light effects.

“Throughout these works and those whose creation has been achieved simultaneously in time, I try to sensitize space, to underline the changing relations between moving lines, to accentuate the ambiguity of certain connections between angles, planes, masses and lines, to integrate sound, time and light, to suggest the virtual movement and generate the transmutation of realities into appearances. Within this particular vision of geometry, I try to retrieve a refuge of poetry, meditation and peace.”

Marcel Floris
June 1984

One Man Shows

1960 Gallery Foundation Mendoza, Caracas. (VENEZUELA)
1962 Gallery Motte, Paris. (FRANCE)
1964 Gallery Bolles, San Francisco, (USA)
Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas (VENEZULA)
1966 Gallery Dawson, Dublin, (EIRE)
1967 Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas (VENEZUELA)
1968 Gallery Conkright, Caracas (VENEZUELA)
Casa de la Cultura, Maracaibo. (VENEZUELA)
1969 Gallery Conkright, Caracas (VENEZUELA)
1972 Gallery Van der Voort, Eivissa. (SPAIN)
Gallery Conkright, Caracas (VENEZUELA)
1974 Gallery Van der Voort, Eivissa (SPAIN)
1975 Gallery Lanzenberg, Eivissa (SPAIN)
1976 Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas (VENEZUELA)
1977 Gallery Arte Contacto, Caracas (VENEZUELA)
Gallery International, Madrid. (SPAIN)
1978 Gallery Christine Colin, Paris (FRANCE)
Gallery Jesse, Bielefeld. (GERMANY)
1979 Museo Villa Vizcaya, Miami (USA)
Public Library of Dade, Miami (USA)
1980 Gallery Sutton, New York (USA)
Gallery CB2, Caracas (VENEZUELA)
1981 Fundación Miró, Barcelona (SPAIN)
Gallery Schoeller, Düsseldorf (GERMANY)
Gallery Sutton, New York (USA)

1982 Studio 1, Musée d’Art Moderne Kunst Landreis, Cuxhaven. (FRANCE)
1984 Gallery Maloney, Eivissa (SPAIN)
1986 Gallery Blauer Ofen, Seeheim-Jugenheim (GERMANY)
1987 Gallery Dorothea van der Koelen, Mainz (FRANCE)
Gallery Franka Berndt, Paris (FRANCE)
1990 Gallery Lahumiére, Paris (FRANCE)

Group Shows

1956 Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas (VENEZUELA)
1964/65/66/67 Pintores Internacionales, Valencia (VENEZUELA)
1965/78 Gallery Byron, New York (USA)
Austin University Museum, Texas (USA)
1966 Facultad de Arquitectura, Caracas (VENEZUELA)
1966/67 Exposition Irlandaise d’Art Vivant, Dublin (EIRE)
1966/68 Movimiento y Color, Gallery Conkright, Caracas (VENEZUUELA)
1967/70 Confrontación, Atenea de Caracas (VENEZUELA)
1968/70 Bienal de Medellin (COLOMBIA)
1968 Pintura y Grabados de Venezuela y Colombia
Gallery Buchholz, Munich (GERMANY)
1969 Newland Galleries, Los Angeles, California (USA)
Gallery Denise René, Paris (FRANCE)
Biennale de Sao Paulo (BRAZIL)
1970 International Exhibition, Osaka (JAPAN)
Color, Línea y Luz, Gallery Conkright, Caracas (VENEZUELA)
1971 Gallery Buchholz, Bogotá (COLOMBIA)
Gold Medal in Biennale de Sao Paulo (BRAZIL)
1972 Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas (VENEZUELA)
1973 Biennale of Sculptures, Budapest (HUNGARY)
1975 Gallery Schlégl, Zurich (SWITZERLAND)
White Gallery, Lausanne (SWITZERLAND)
1978 Gallery Van der Voort, Bale (SWITZERLAND)
1979 Public Library of Dade, Miami (USA)
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Caracas (VENEZUELA)
“Arte Construido” Caracas (VENEZUELA)
1980 Gallery 99, Bal Harbour, Miami (USA)
Gallery Sutton, New York (USA)
1981 Equitable Gallery, New York (USA)
I.G. Metallgesellschaft AG, Fracfort (GERMANY)
1986 Kronkret Sech, Nuremberg (GERMANY)
1987 De 2 Carrés, Wilhem-Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen (GERMANY)
Institut Français, Minz (GERMANY)
1988 Gallery de Stis, Doedrecht, (HOLLAND)
1989 En 3 Dimensions, Gallery Lahumiére, Paris (FRANCE)
1989 Gallery Dorothea Van der Koelen, Mainz, (GERMANY)
1989/90 International Fairs in Frankfurt, Bale, Chicago, and the FIAC, with the Gallery Lahumiére of Paris (FRANCE)
Museum of Klagenfurt (AUSTRIA)


1967 First Prize Asociación del Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas (VENEZUELA)
1968 National Prize of Painting, Venezuela
1969 National Prize of Sculpture, Venezuela
1971 Golden Medal in the Biennale of Sao Paulo (BRAZIL)

Museum Acquisitions

Canada Contemporanean Art Museum, Montreal
Colombia Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogotá
Museo “La Tertulia”, Cali
France Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris
Italy Instituto Latino-Americano, Roma
Mexico Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico D.F
Spain Museo d’Art Contemporaní d’Eivissa
F. l’Autoroute Mediterranie, Barcelona
USA Modern Art Museum New York
Institut Smithsonian, Washington DC
Museo del Arte Latino-Americano, Washington DC
Public Library of Dade, Miami
Public Library of Dade-South, Miami
Instituto de la Cultura, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Carnegie Library, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Germany Modern Art Museum Kunst Landreis, Cuxhaven
Bergen Museum, Glandbanch
Venezuela Galería de Arte National, Caracas
Instituto “Los Teques”
Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Caracas
Museo de la Cultura, Maracaibo
Museo de Arte Moderno, Mérida
Museo de la Fundación Jesus Soto, Ciudad Bolivar

Marcel Floris
Photograph © Klaus Sange
Acier Peint, Autoroute Mediterranean, Gerona, Barcelona, 5 Metres x 7 Metres 1974
Angles Ambigus 74 x 44 x 17 1993
Fer Peint 80 x 38 x 17 cm
Giros, Painted Iron, 90 x 104 x 90
Colcar, Painted Iron, 148 x 190 x 99
Signature, Unpainted Iron
75 x 50 x 50 cm 1996
Trois Points, Brass & Copper
67 x 57 x 40 cm 1996
Wilm, Painted Iron
60 x 53 x 30 cm 1995
Pliages Grillage De Fer Peint 40 x 50 x 42 cm
Aluminium Corporation Venezuela de Tourism,
Caracas, 1970
Marcel Floris
Foundation Joan Miro 1981
Murale 60 x 60 x 3 cm 1977
Aluminium, Biennale de Medellin,
Colombia, 1970
Murale 72 x 72 x 3 cm 1977
Installation Biennale de Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1971

All Pictures Courtesy of Marcel Floris

José P Ribas