By Audrey Teichmann
Photography: Baptiste Debombourg; courtesy v2com
The solo show of Baptiste Debombourg titled"Dark Matter" at the glass Biennale in la Chaufferie, Strasbourg is a contextual sculptural installation in black glass and float glass…
Dark matter is a phrase as suggestive as its nature is problematic. Once separated from the gravitational effect, it seems to have on visible matter in the Universe (and it constitutes at least a quarter of said visible matter); "dark matter" can only be the subject of hypothesis.
Baptiste Debombourg has injected the mysteries and necessities of this little-known cosmic element into his Chaufferie installation: an immersive mass of black glass, punctuated by a mask.
Dark layering flows over levels like a galactic sea in which cracks act as foam. The tangible treatment in monochrome black lends the work a status that is at least two-fold – sculptural and pictorial – and gives rise to additional questions related to the work’s setting, plane, vanishing points, surfaces, volume, reflections, and the position of the viewer, invited to walk on the uneven surface that creaks with each footstep. The audio dimension later appended to the work is one part of its phenomenological nature – it is a work designed to be experienced as much as seen.
By walking through the installation, these surface appearances or ambiguous visions are revealed – generated by its mirrored aspect. The transformation of the space, induced by the white, almost totemic shape of the wall - the remaining segment of the room’s original state - highlights the unreliable nature of reflections. The cracks condition the corners, which de-condition the body, whose position becomes critical. The mask, installed where the flow is interrupted, reproduces this vision indefinitely by diffracting the glass, and reflects a shifting image of appearance and disappearance for the viewer...
Rather than a “non-place”, the site is of an undefined nature and is revealed through the cadence of a stroll, a space-time with a spectacular aura. Beneath the glass glaze that wails, when walked on, images sprout, in which sky and ground merge, in a "reversible world" These are the remains and consequences of an event: extreme compression – from which diamond and coal are derived – or spatial evaporation. We hesitate between the expansion and reduction of this dark matter, a source of mysticism that its materialism may contravene.
One of the side effects of this blackness, profound in its density and engulfing power, is to be transported beyond or “outre”... "Outrenoir means: beyond the blackness is a reflected light, transmuted by the black","black that, ceasing to be, becomes a transmitter of clarity, a secret light". “Other" or displaced, since this particular monochrome follows the course of the constellations, subterranean waters, mining fissures, and the high and low cosmic evasions peculiar to the sensation of a glissade.
Dates of Exhibition: October 1, 2015 – November 15, 2015
Venue: La Chaufferie, Hear (Haute Ecole du Rhin)5 rue de la Manufacture des Tabacs, Strasbourg, France
Timings: 2pm – 6pm
Audrey Teichmann is an independent curator and critic based in Geneva. She dabbles in art and has experimented with new curatorial practices at the festival of music and contemporary art, Baleapop (Saint Jean de Luz, FRwiyj She is also an active writer and commentator on art.