Benjamin Sabatier - Home Work

Benjamin Sabatier?s exhibition is called Home Work. This title is in line with Hardwork, a project from 2012, and Formwork, from 2015, and it?s also a playful reference to the recent lockdown situation.

In fact, it is about looking -inside the studio space- at how to reconsider materials in their simplicity so as to bring into play the basic principles of sculpture from a different perspective. Basically : to work with what you have as a principle, to continue working when everything else stops, aiming at integrating limitations into work as a possibility for a certain optimism.

Concrete -always present in Benjamin Sabatier?s artistic vocabulary- is here poured into cardboard shaped into very simple forms. The shapes recovered from perforations are used for the base of the sculptures so materials are maximized. The appearance of the surface, heightened by a patina-like paint, reinforces the cardboard?s coloring, making it more obvious and more fragile even. In this way, simplicity is fully embraced and it is even surprising when we understand we are looking at concrete.

It is also a matter of thinking abstract sculpture as a modern epic, considering that concrete is a recent material used in reconstruction, that of brutalist architects as well as classical sculpture. Concrete used as foundations in emergency architecture or as ordinary material. The shapes themselves are very basic and are organized like a very simple cut-out/collage, as if the idea was to return to the fundamentals of volume.

The element of color adds to simplicity and reinforces the totemic appearance. This sediment, like oxidized flat color, reveals the surfaces and the pieces of cardboard. In addition, these colors and their code, may also point to different periods such as cubist sculpture or to the more recent pop assemblage.

Thereby, this series seems to be a new phase in which Benjamin Sabatier
aggregates several elements: his technical ability when using concrete, his precise knowledge of abstract sculpture from the ?70s onward, his vision of lockdown, and his frugal nature that makes recycling an obvious choice. Furthermore, these panel sculptures borrow both from the Structural Works series -with concrete and burnt wood- in their architectural presence as well as from the painting-collages series -with washed out colors resulting from dripping paint. In that sense they can be considered as a synthesis, a new phase opening to new perspectives in his work.

Thomas Bernard