Daphné MANDEL was born in 1975 in Lausanne, Switzerland to a French father and a Dutch mother and grew up in Paris. She credits her Dutch grandmother, a respected textile artist, Wilhelmina Fruytier (www.wilfruytier.com), with instilling in her a deep appreciation of art and painting. Daphné 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" by the 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. She found inspiration in her move to Hong Kong in 2008 to explore other means of creative and artistic expression.
Hong Kong's environment is quite one of a kind: it is a mash-up between an urban jungle and lush greenery. This juxtaposition of nature and urbanity is captured by mixed media artist Daphné Mandel. Her works explore old Hong Kong's architecture while introducing imaginary and whimsical elements as a way to exploit the incredible urban paradoxes of this city in constant metamorphosis. Daphné's work has morphed over the intervening years and she now seeks to represent, interpret and transform what she discovered. The works continue to evolve in a fantasized urbanscape, often disconnected from any sense of reality but incorporating poetry and illusion.
Using architectural rendering techniques permits Daphné to give a sense of ultra-realism to her works which contrasts with the more artisanal modes of expression such as painting and crayon. She finds that the perfect aesthetic and good balance exists somewhere between the tremendous possibilities offered by contemporary digital tools and more tactile, artisanal and traditional techniques, both of which are essential to her work. This contrast is also a mirror of Hong Kong's urban aesthetic: the luxurious and polished juxtaposed with the untidied and derelict.
Currently, Daphné is doing field research on Hong Kong's abandoned sites. Her explorations include locating and accessing these deserted places including villages, schools, theatres and cinemas, private villas and mansions. Her new series 'Chimerical Villages', 'Hong Kong Time Rift' and 'Cabinet of Memories' delve into the paradox of a city in constant change, with places that are left behind for ears, or sometimes decades and that seem to be frozen in time. The Series transcend these secluded sites and exacerbate the improbabilitv of their landscapes.
Daphné has been featured extensively in local and international press including the Wall Street Journal, the South China Morning Post, RTHK Radio, Hong Kong Economic Times, China Daily, BlouinArt Info, Lifestyle Asia, Ocula, Cobo Social, Ming Pao, Home Journal, Zolima CityMaa, Elle Décor and Architectural Digest