From the representation of light, to light itself...
(…) Autumn 2015. A special Radiance sublimates the walls of the Patricia Dorfmann gallery in Paris. It stems from the advent of Baptiste Debombourg’s “Ultra Visions”. The artist shifts us to the edge of the experience, on the verge of its beginnings. He creates images in subtle sculptures in the round, which the spectator discovers by sliding from one point of view to another. There is no narration whatsoever. The subject is offered to the gaze, in its crystalline transparency, donning the veils of sensitivity, instinct, and accident. The molten glass has given rise to embryos of life that radiate and punctuate the paintings. Each one secretly implodes. There are aquatic, liquid, gaseous, and electric tonalities... Along the wire of art history, a Constructivist murmur reaches us. Malevich and his metaphysical taste for pure air appears, while, before us, a variant on “nature, or the inner voice” comes to mind. Agnostic stained-glass windows that sing the praises of the thrill of life itself. Primitive expressions. Spatial moods. Fossilised comets.
Mirrors inspired by the here and now that escapes us. (...) Baptiste refuses to speak of spirituality or the divine, but it is hard not to think of the stained-glass windows of cathedrals when looking at his artworks. Naturally, Soulages springs to mind. But the prowess of these glass paintings hanging on the walls of the Radiance exhibition is that of inviting us to journey further back into history. Against the yardstick of the 17th century, Caravaggio transcended his subjects through his virtuoso mastery of chiaroscuro. It would be appropriate to describe this as the paroxysm of ecstasies produced by a visual dramatisation. As early as 1967, Gerhard Richter introduced glass into his practice: the work 4 glass panels completed his abstract and poetic inspiration. Later, he wrote in his Notes: “My paintings are pointless (without object); but like any object, they are the object of themselves. They consequently contain neither significance, nor direction; they are like things, trees, animals, people or days, which also do not have a raison d’être, purpose, or goal. These, then, are the stakes. [...] Abstract paintings stress a particular method, that of not having a subject, not calculating, but developing, and creating.” In 1991, Jaroslava Brychlova and Stanislav Libensky created glass sculptures in the rectangular format of a painting placed on a column entitled Spaces. The glass was moulded around an empty square, piercing the material diagonally and diffusing the light that followed the unequal line of its thickness as it tapered out on the edges of the frame. They are colourful objects that play on light throughout (...). Baptiste Debombourg finds inspiration in the rediscovery of abstract painting. The architectural design of the paintings of Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, for instance, has accompanied his research. By studying the virtues and possibilities of glass, Baptiste resolutely awakens the soul exalted by the artists of the 1920s. We note the important role of silence, the translucent void contained in each painting. Debombourg pursues the quest for harmony that De Stijl, the Bauhaus school and all of the pioneers of the early 20th century engaged in, which can be found again, in New York then Chicago, even in the skyscrapers – zeniths dancing with the natural seasons of light.
In “Obliques aurores” [Oblique Dawns] by Anaïs Delmas, 2015
text written for the solo show "Radiance " at the Patricia Dorfmann Gallery in Paris