Baptiste Debombourg has been working with glass since 2005 and Acceleration Field (Champ d’accélération) is his most intricate large-scale installation (250 square meters) to date, the first one, too, to expose itself to outside natural light, and currently on view at The Red House in Paris.
Glass doesn’t interest the artist for the artisanal craft it requires, its intrinsic fragility or its purity. Viewed through the prism of Marcel Duchamp’s famed and accidentally cracked Large Glass, glass is for Debombourg the product of a dark alchemy, a lively material. Moreover, the laminated glass plates he uses are fastidiously cracked with a hammer, without scattering (the material is made out of two bonded layers). Glass can then reveal its toughness, its ability to transform itself into a constellation, with a history that comes up to the surface, which until then was smooth, without asperities. Intensely constructed, modeled, submitted to a rigorous leveling, the artwork is nevertheless noticeable for an element of randomness, and a duration that calls to mind its ephemeral and transitory nature, where time keeps on being torn apart.
Acceleration Field is a sculpture, but more importantly it is an in vitro landscape, an axonometric elevation whose structure can be perceived in this incidental topography by following its curves and undulations. With Debombourg’s work, each installation is ephemeral and contextual; moreover here at La Maison Rouge, where time seems to truly stand still behind the patio’s windows, in a suspended state between a fluid, tempestuous material and a certain form of inertia and gravity. Everything is under tension, between a feeling of speediness that dissolves outlines and structures with a wave effect, and one of control and mastery. Nothing is haphazard here; all blows are accounted for with the patience of a goldsmith.
With this work altering the properties of glass, Acceleration Field lightens it, plays with sunlight, and imposes its living, shifting material. It is a place, a décor, a rugged surface, damaged with a paradoxical skillfulness, a delicate game of balance inaccessible to the visitor. The latter is asked to stay behind the smooth, inert and seamless glass wall [of the patio], to look at this other piece of glass that has lived and transcended its constitution to become a sensitive space. –Bénédicte Ramade