Born in May 1968 in Fontenay-aux-Roses, Martin Le Chevallier studied at the Ecole Supérieure d'Art Graphique (ESAG) and then at the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs de Paris. In 1989, he started work as an independent graphic designer. From 1996, he began his own research into social and political issues that led to him putting up his posters illegally and developing work where he brings his critical eye to bear on contemporary ideologies and myths. He is also the artistic co-director of the newspaper Libération.
His first work, the CD-ROM Gageure 1.0 [Wager 1.0] (1999), a labyrinthine depiction of corporate discourse, led him to explore the possibilities offered by interactivity. He then developed games (Flirt 1.0, 2000, a game of seduction made from American film noir movie excerpts, then Vigilance 1.0, 2001, a video-surveillance game) and interactive videos. During his artist's residency at the French Academy in Rome from 2000 to 2001, he made Félicité [Bliss], an evocation of an idle utopian society, and Oblomov, a minimalist adaptation of the novel by Gontcharov. This cycle of interactive videos ended in 2005 with Le Papillon [The Butterfly], the story of a character whose life is turned upside down by the impatience of viewers.
He creates portrayals of our era that are often made up of the very tools and processes that characterise it. In this way he evokes consumerist pathologies by a vocal telephone server (Doro Bibloc, 2003) and a law-and-order utopia through a film trailer that tells us what is coming up (Safe Society, 2003). In 2007, he created a “fair item” for the Fiac, a painted wooden polyptych in an ironic tribute to the policies of Nicolas Sarkozy (NS).
In his most recent works, he has devoted himself to creating representations of interference with reality. This was how he came to ask a consulting firm to propose a strategy for him to attain glory (The Audit, 2008); how he travelled in procession to Brussels to present a miraculous European flag (The Holy Flag, 2009); how he set about securing a pool in the Tuileries Garden with small, remote-controlled police boats (Ocean Shield, 2009); and how he set up a tourist telescope above a hypermarket (Ralentir ses battement de paupières [Slowing Your Blinking] exhibition, 2010).
As a counterpoint to these contextual projects, he continues with filmmaking. In this way, Year 2008 (2010), both a film and an installation, presents a picaresque narrative of globalisation.