Baptiste Debombourg’s exhibition “JUSTICE & PRUDENCE” at the Le Lieu, Centre d’Art Actuel in Quebec is the final part of a trilogy which started with “Agony In The Garden” at the Galerie Krupic Kersting in Cologne, followed by “Massacre Innocent” at the Galerie Patricia Dorfmann in Paris.
The thematic focus of these exhibitions concentrates on the way in which the model of society, be it a religious, political or economic model, is represented.
In this part, the spectator is tantalised by a huge display of work, plunged into a spiritual dimension from which strange feelings emanate: contemplation or desolation? Coronation or execution? The orchestration seems violent and methodical: televisions brutally impaled on improvised gallows, exploded screens on the ground surrounded by their shattered remains, while other whole ones await their sentence.
Questions abound when we confront this theatre of affliction: torturers? Victims? Theoretical tools, some dominating agents, others dominated agents, are in subversive conflict here.
In contrast, at the centre of this carnage, a pole, its head blinded by a plastic bag covered with fine gold, is presented on its plinth in all its glory, while at the same time evocation of the condemned man, hooded by his executioner just before his execution, hovers over it. A paradox of judgements, but also of materials: plastic takes its place in the allegorical sphere of our consumer society, and through its composition maintains a direct link with another kind of gold: oil, a liberalist symbol.
Venerated since time immemorial for its luminance and its stability, gold here creates an introspective parallel between the ideology of capitalism and its dreams of success embodied by money.
The work MARX, produced in collaboration with the artist David Marin, uses a cynical beauty to question that hyperbole of capitalism: attraction and rejection, totem or torture. Thus both the bag and the television are seen as containers that are as empty as they are manipulative, far removed from windows open on to the world. With the incisive sophistication characteristic of him, Baptiste Debombourg here underlines the spectral nature of a logic of vengeance confronting a logic of justice.
Aurelia Bey-de la Hera
Justice & Prudence
Aurelia Bey-de la Hera
Text written for the soloshow « Justice & Prudence », at the Art Center Le Lieu in Québec, novembre 2014.