August 16, 2023
“I am interested in individual repeated attempts, which sometimes lead to failure,” says Baptiste Debombourg. “The impression of impotence generated by such situations, and by the individuals themselves, simply highlights the fragile and endearing nature of the human being.”
The French artist is known for large-scale installations that repurpose utilitarian objects like cafe chairs, staples, and windshields into elaborate, immersive artworks. Enormous sheets of glass cascade from the windows of an abbey or slosh around inside of a courtyard, often using many tons of the fragile planes to accomplish a sense of undulating motion.
Debombourg’s most recent work, “Black tide,” combines black lacquer with broken glass, silicone, and other materials to flood a Quebec gallery. A powerful gush buries everything in its wake like a tidal wave, landslide, magma flow, or oil spill. Furniture is half-submerged and strewn throughout the deluge, referencing environmental disasters that humans both cause and experience.
“My inspiration and influences come from everyday life, and more specifically, from day-to-day objects that condition our lives,” Debombourg says. Architecture plays a crucial role in his site-specific installations, providing openings, boundaries, and elements that inspire each work. In “Aerial,” for example, classical columns and high windows at Brauweiler Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery in Pulheim, Germany, inspired a set of giant drape-like windows that appear to billow from the walls as if pushed by a strong wind, turning viscous at the bottom and oozing across the floor.
Debombourg is currently working on several projects, including an installation scheduled to open in November at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Bucharest, Romania, curated by Anca Mihuleţ. A commissioned, permanent artwork for Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, is also slated to open in February. Explore much more on the artist’s website and Instagram.
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