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