Coline Marotta’s reaction to the digital erosion of our ‘real’ lives at PUBLIC Gallery

PUBLIC Gallery presents Live a Little, the debut UK solo show of Coline Marotta. It showcases a new series of paintings and drawings produced during her residency with the gallery. These playfully react to the digital erosion of our ‘real’ lives.

Coline Marotta, Untitled 5, 2019, Soft pastel on paper, 35 x 25 cm

This body of new works explores themes of communication, intimacy and restlessness. They show how we interact with the world around us, and more specifically with each other. Marotta, a French artist, is particularly interested in the influence of new technologies on our behaviour. She investigates how, as we become more dependent on external tools to communicate, our abilities to interact and create intimacy in real life are gradually eroding.


Coline Marotta, Untitled 6, 2019, Soft pastel & coloured pencil on paper, 35 x 25 cm

Reflecting this current situation, Marotta’s characters appear in a state of pensive sadness – not overwhelmed by sorrow but immersed into a contemplative post-summer blues. The artists expresses this angst and delusion through quite playful representations. Her colours are not the dark and terrifying ones we might expect from these descriptions. Marotta uses instead the bright pinks and pastel hues typically associated with pop art, advertising, and children dreamlands.


Coline Marotta, Emotionally late (repainting paintings), 2019, Acrylic on canvas

Marotta’s people are ’emotionally late’, as the artwork here exemplifies. When suppressed by the digital world, they are together but not looking at each other; they take showers that never really washes them; they are halfway between getting dressed, or undressed… unsure whether to face the social world or have a Netflix and chill?

Yet these protagonists also defy technology and its demands. They inhabit a private world of the interior, a place where bodies can interact and move at their own pace. Marotta rejects public spaces, which demand us to move quickly and with direction. In their place, she presents us with the privacy and ruthlessness of interior spaces, characterised by a slower rhythm. Here we can reflect, contemplate, relax; here definitions of relationships are created and altered in privacy; here we can be who we are, without worrying about how are instagram feed will look like.


Coline Marotta, Not pretending not to care, 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 42 x 36 cm

These scenes, rendered in candied pastel hues and effortless gestural strokes, show figures stretching and reaching across the canvas in a delicate balance of tension and playful curiosity. Spaces are minimal, filled with small recognisable elements – fruit on the table, a tiled wall, a book lying on the floor.  Figures float freely across the space, careless of gravity and social laws. These create a hazy environment where the public can project itself, placing the paintings within our own remembered places.

This new group of works almost act as an extended pop song, full of sweetness but underlined by a sense of light melancholy. There are lazy bathers and lovers contemplating a loss of contact; the other is everywhere but never fully visible, cropped out from the composition like an unanswered message marked ‘seen’.


Coline Marotta, Studio Portrait, 2019

COLINE MAROTTA, LIVE A LITTLE PUBLIC Gallery, 17 Amhurst Terrace, London, E8 2BT
On until – 26TH OCTOBER

About The Artist
Coline Marotta (b. 1991, France) lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. She received her MFA from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2017 and her BFA from The Marseille-Mediterranean College of Art and Design in 2013. Solo exhibitions include ‘Halfway Home’, Alice Folker Gallery, Copenhagen (2019), ‘Big Love Low Ceiling’, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen (2018) and ‘Untitled’, The Tennis Elbow, New York (2018). Group exhibitions include ‘New “bad” painting’, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen (2018), ‘An action without image’, Kunstverein Reutlingen, Germany (2018) and ‘Code Art Fair’, Bella Center, Copenhagen (2017).

About Irene Machetti

Whenever there is an exhibition opening, expect to find me there, with a glass of wine in one hand, and my phone on the other, to take pictures and record my emotions. The rest of my life is spent studying art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and, especially, baking cakes and lasagne for my loved ones.