Dans son atelier, l’artiste plasticien a imaginé les 6 pièces uniques remises aux vainqueurs de la seconde édition du concours COTE Invent’.

Max Cartier, artisan of substance

  • Creation space


He has marked cinema with his role in Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers, Nice nightlife with his mythic Camargue, and art with his forceful, diverse oeuvre.


"For me, Max Cartier is a C.R.E.A.T.O.R." That was Arman's opinion of this unclassifiable mixed-media artist, and a most apposite description since the etymology of the word "creator" means one who uses separate elements to produce something that did not previously exist. When you contemplate Cartier's work that dynamic is self-evident: a multitudinous protean oeuvre grounded in materials, where ordinary objects – used, forgotten, abandoned – become a raw material opening up the realms of the possible. Max Cartier is an artist indeed, likewise an artisan. He doesn't "make" figures in stone and metal, he folds, twists, pierces, piles up and burns. He is no bulging-muscled giant but he is strong in the force with which he imbues each creation and in the heart and guts he puts into every piece. Although now 82, when
the man isn't on his Bull moving stones that weigh several hundredweight, he's using his welding equipment to bend to his will steel reinforcement rods capable of holding up a Trump Tower's walls. Through his Stone Men and Iron Men he penetrates with majesty to the heart of an art in which the human hand – Louis Nucéra called him "the man with the golden hands" – tenses up a rematerialised reality.


Bound by love
But as diverse as his practices are, if one is to be singled out as his signature it should be his Bindings: simple objects – a shoe, a toy, a microscope, a Singer sewing machine – bound around with gilded brass or plain steel rods. Some have no particular history, others include Fausto Coppi's training bike and Coco Chanel's table lighters; all share a destiny of being protected from time and neglect. With a hand just as firm but delicate too, Cartier has bound chairs up in strips of Chacok fabric and scarified painted plywood with his earth mover. This is an artist who crops up where you least expect him. Who would have thought that he (or another) could unite the three great monotheist religions around a single shared ideal? In creating 3 = 1 Cartier accomplished a miracle: a sculpture in which crescent, cross and star of David are one, bound together by bonds of love.


By Alexandre Benoist
Photo: Jean-Michel Sordello