Daphné Mandel

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Daphné explores Hong Kong’s architecture while introducing imaginary and whimsical elements as a way to exploit the urban paradoxes of this city in constant metamorphosis.  The evolution of her work is tied to her evolving perception of the city.  In her first years in Hong Kong, her work depicted Hong Kong’s facades while catching glimpses of the inside.  Over the years, Daphne's works evolved into imaginary cityscapes incorporating poetry and illusion. Architectural rendering techniques permitting ultra-realism is used in contrast with more organic expressions such as painting and crayon.  In Daphne's view the perfect aesthetic is the right balance between possibilities offered by contemporary digital tools and the more tactile traditional techniques. This concept mirrors Hong Kong’s urban aesthetic: the luxurious and polished juxtaposed with the untidied and derelict.

Daphné has been featured extensively in local and international press including the Wall Street Journal, the South China Morning Post, RTHK Radio4, BlouinArt Info, Home Journal, Zolima CityMag, Elle Décor and Architectural Digest.

Daphné Mandel was born in 1975 in Lausanne and grew up in Paris.  She credits her Dutch grandmother, a respected textile artist, with instilling in her a deep appreciation of art and painting. She studied architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning in Versailles and graduated in 2000.  She co-founded the Paris based landscape architecture and urban planning firm Gilot & Mandel Paysage. She and her partner were named «Best Young Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture Professionals» in France for their work (French Ministry of Culture, 2006). As a result, a number of public parks, city centres, cultural sites, and sports venues in France and abroad bear Daphne’s touch. Her move to Hong Kong in 2008 inspired her to explore other means of creative and artistic expression. She has been featured extensively in local and international press including the Wall Street Journal, SCMP, RTHK, Home Journal, Zolima CityMag, Elle Décor and Architectural Digest.

 

To view press on Daphné Mandel please click here.

The full artist's catalogue can be downloaded here.

The artist's profile can be viewed on Artsy here.

 


Available Work:

 Daphné Mandel "Back Alleys Backstage" [Hong Kong, 2018]

Daphné Mandel "Back Alleys Backstage" [Hong Kong, 2018]

This new body of work continues Mandel’s exploration of Hong Kong’s landscape. Her paper and digital moving collages play with the city's abrupt contrasts. The city becomes a shallow decor and the dark alleys appear in whimsical tales. The alleys are staged dramatically using theatre imagery such as velvet curtains, smoke and spotlights.  


 Daphné Mandel "Dark Alleys Part 1" [Hong Kong, 2018]

Daphné Mandel "Dark Alleys Part 1" [Hong Kong, 2018]

 
This series is about celebrating the back alleys in an overly dense and compact city. I wanted to bring these narrow gaps and urban fractures into the light. Today these alleys are behind the scenes. They are dark. They are dirty. They are smelly. In my works, it is the rest of the city that becomes a shallow decor. They’re staged dramatically using the whole theatre imagery, such as red velvet, smoke, spot lights and the red velvet curtain opens and closes on these magical scenes and blurry visions. That’s my little fantasy world… reversing, the front becomes the back and that back becomes the front.
— Daphné Mandel, 2018

 Daphné Mandel "Dark Alleys Part 2 [Hong Kong, 2018]

Daphné Mandel "Dark Alleys Part 2 [Hong Kong, 2018]

In my new series of work, there is a digitally animated piece called “Magic in the Dark Alleys.” I collected footage in my studio and on site during many, many night walks in the alleys. Both dimensions, staged and real, were combined digitally, to tell this unique story with the back alleys as a backdrop. I guess recently I have started to explore more the motion as opposed to just the collage. Using this mode of expression allows me to go further in the story I tell. The starting point is always the walks, the exploration, both by day and night.
— Daphné Mandel, 2018

Excerpt of "Magic in the Dark Alleys" by Daphné Mandel, Sound by Kevin Chau [Hong Kong, 2018] - 4 minutes 14 seconds

 

Video Stills from "Magic in the Dark Alleys" [Hong Kong, 2018]


Video Interview with Daphne