Portait of the artist Marie Denis. Photo credits: Eric Sander-2017

Marie Denis and her works of art that open its pores to the soul of things

September saw the start of Vetrina, a cycle of contemporary art exhibitions hosted by Vino Vero Venezia, organized in collaboration with Lightbox and curated by Mara Sartore.
The curator interviewed the first guest artist Marie Denis to chat about her artistic practice and her incredible site-specific work "Spathes" created specifically for the Wine Club's showcase. 
by Mara Sartore
October 19, 2021
Mara Sartore
Marie Denis

Where does the inspiration for your work come from?

All the life distillations that are close to a book. All the distillations of life are like a book.

The artist invents through what he sees. He metabolises it.

I come from the Garrigues (South of France) and everything infuses.

Nature as a body.

It is the companion of my subjectivities, of my view of what the world has of vast and Dantesque.

A story then begins to take shape.

As Ananay Arango writes about my art – “opening its pores to the soul of things and their metamorphosis”.

How would you describe your relationship with nature, and how does this presence play out in your artistic production?

A meditation on nature, its forms, and materials.

Inventoried, radicalised.

Simplicity to the core. Searching for the poignant form. 

My rebus become manifest ikebanas.

An unmistakeable timelessness of forms for a list of our dark skies.

And the obsession always of the “crossing” herbarium which mixes the tangible with the abstract.


& also

The studio, a space to experiment, research, and exchange.

Nobody said it better than Robert Filliou: Art is what makes life more interesting than art.  

A claimed subjectivity regarding our impressions of nature(s). 

Fixing its impermanence, embodying it, transcending it.

It is also years of conversations with gardeners and is rooted in the history of art and attention to elements in transformation.

This displacement of techniques returns forms and materials with depth.

 My universe crosses the know-how, filiation with my father Meilleur Ouvrier de France of embroidery designs.  25 years of the plant world inspire ideas that escape just from the technique. 

To specify always further my predilections: of Cabinet of curiosities, still life, and taste of the paradox: a universe which kaleidoscopes the nature.

Spathes, Marie Denis, Vino Vero, 2021. Courtesy by the artist.
Marie Dènis, portrait. Courtesy by the artist. 

Tell us a little about this Venetian experience for the Vino Vero showcase and what stimuli this transversal collaboration between art and wine gave you?

I loved everything about the joyful, stimulating, and demanding meeting with you and Matteo.

Understanding your thread around natural wines, the “no spritz” sign!

How wine at your place is precisely a question of culture and meaning.

A meeting place for producers and connoisseurs to mingle, tasting wines that have a soul.


It is beautiful, because my very first exhibition 26 years ago was at Château Siran in the Médoc.

I proposed a jump and the red sail of a parachute as a metaphor for wine taste.

I exhibited photos of grapes – black Alphonse Lavallée and white Muscat grapes – with a map of the world drawn on their bloom.


At Vino Vero, it’s a conversation of trust with you and Matteo to find a form of evidence, of harmony with the spirit of the place.

Vino Vero’s showcase space reinvents the “Spathes” project.


Here they take on the colour of time, like Peau d’Âne’s dress in the fairy tale.
These large leaves, inspired by the shape of the spathes of coconut trees (which like a gangue protect their inflorescences).
The veins of the spathes were thus engraved hand in hand with Barbara at Giovanardi.
This is a project where my heart travels from Giovanardi to Alberta and you Mara.
An atmospheric herbarium, where each leaf becomes a sculptural blade, a salient herbarium-totem.
And in Venice, these spathe-leaves refer to water, they seem to be the changing mirror of the Serenissima: their veins and furrows like moving waves are docked or hidden from view.
They also evoke the feminine, an intimate incarnation, here transfigured by the metal.
To seek the sublime and the equivocal as nature itself is.

I also like passers-by to discover them in the reflection of the window, or to prolong the contemplation with a glass in hand, to deepen the dream.

Spathes are about nature, and necessarily question “our nature” towards it.

Questions that echo your lifeline that is Vino Vero

What plans do you have in the near future?

  • The beautiful collective project “A Bartleby” is currently at Alberta Pane art gallery in Venice together with the showcase for Vino Vero.
  • Coming soon to Treviso, “Non c’è + nessun virgilio a guidarci nell’inferno” from 26.10 to 5.12.2021, commissioned by Martina Cavallarin/Antonio Caruso (Alberta and Marina)
  • Just opened, a lively and committed project like yours!
  • Following the summer exhibition with the CNEAI, a new collaboration
  • And with Alberta Pane, “my art sister”, well, I’m getting to it, my artist’s book for 2022 with the Maison de Chateaubriand
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