Marcel Il Lusoire Frottage  was born in Eastbourne in 1962 to Huguenot parents. He attended a local school where he suffered much persecution due to his dislike of sport and his already burgeoning interest in the Art World. He left Eastbourne in 1980 and moved to London where he attended the Chelsea School of Art. He did not actually have a place but he attended anyway. He came to know London night life and spent many a pleasant and heady evening on the embankment frequently dressed as a woman. He attended parties given by artists, writers and poets working in London at the time and was often found out.

He first came to the notice of the Art World when he staged a one man exhibition in Trafalgar Square, a forerunner of the now vacant plinth idea with Frottage, himself, as both plinth and nude. Later, the Judge at the trial was bold enough to ask the question ‘Is this Art?’ A question frequently asked of the exhibits now seen in the same place and of Frottage’s future output. Indeed, he was never of the Art World but stood outside it as an inquisitor, a detractor. He was not a mirror that reflected anything back to, or from nature, in fact, as his personal manservant once said ‘Monsieur Frottage a d’autres choses à faire. Il n’est pas ici a ce moment.’

Before the inception of the New Exhibitionist Movement, Frottage made strong statements about his beliefs, although never in person. He had them delivered in a particularly Dadaesque style by his agent, lifelong friend and fellow Huguenot, Salvador Dodo.

His life became one of mystery punctuated with explosive moments of exhibitionism. Spurious tales of flagellation and dungeons began to do the rounds in the late 90s but Frottage merely withdrew into his own particular cell and refused to be coerced. At least, at first.

His public appearances became less and less frequent until rumours circulated that he had died and been hidden in a drawer by a fellow artist. It was his Chinese Cook who finally put paid to these pre-emptive obituaries when he said


It was not until his most recent and, some might say, devastating ‘Happening’ at the New, New Gallery, in St Ives in Cornwall that anyone knew that he was still working. In fact, even after the exhibition closed amid scenes of unparalleled depravity no one could, it seems, find Frottage to invite him to speak at the glittering, no expenses spared closing party. His own personal, Premier suite in the basement yielded no clues as it proved to be completely empty. However, his agent, Salvador Dodo, was on hand to deliver the last word on this, possibly antepenultimate end to an extraordinary and yet, strangely nebulous career.

Senor Frottage tiene otras cosas que hacer. El no está aquí en este momento.’

Maxine Flaneuse de Cornouaille

Volume 32 no 6 July/August 2018 p 25

5 thoughts on “Marcel Il Lusoire Frottage

  1. Maxine,
    I love your writing and thank you for the great pleasure that it gives me. I look forward more and more to your articles; I just wish there were more of them! I couldn’t believe that Frottage had Huguenot parents and also had a Huguenot lifelong friend and agent, and lastly, that he’d had a one man show in Trafalgar Square, naked. The Chinese cook with his bit 先生还有其他的事情要做or Mr. there are other things to do was the culpabilité de grâce. Well done, and please hurry up and give us another piece soon. The art world needs you!

  2. Hi Maxine,
    Try as I may, I cannot seem to find the New New Gallery in St Ives. As I am visiting Cornwall, I was wondering if you could possibly help me please?

  3. Why the use of French, Chinese and Spanish? No Cornish? It’s kind of like a ratatouille of languages to create a certain effect, which in any case you did achieve with your very effective review of Marcel Frottage. He is certainly becoming a household word in Cornwall.

  4. Too bad art exhibitions are so serious and aren’t as much fun as your satires of them.

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