With a poster featuring a red pterodactyl emerging from a sea of hybrid creatures, the new exhibition at the Botanique Museum plunges us into an extraordinary universe where spider trees intertwine with vertebrae and larvae, fossils, a Migrant Spirit and wolves. Hope and despair, life and death, past and present, science, art and performance.
This jungle staged by Bonom is the brainchild of Vincent Glowinski (Paris, 1986) – aka Bonom -, combined with the imagery of Agnès Debizet, who is none other than his mother. A mum artist-of-all-trades, Debizet is a sculptor and embroiderist, collage artist, ceramics designer, potter, seamstress, illustrator and writer. A mother who built an entire world, as a way of evading the banalities of life, where Vincent grew up… and from which he escaped. Yet, he is still intrinsically linked to that world. “I am no longer able to draw the claws of a bird without my works resembling my mother’s,” he says. This continuous legacy leaves traces. Even though digested, the filiation remains perceptible. When looking at the works on display, one might hesitate as to their author: the mother or the son? “What did I see? What did I learn from this forest I hoped to escape,” asks Bonom, when looking back upon his own journey. A journey that took him from street art to other creative fields which made him emerge from anonymity. Today, Vincent Glowinski is quite a renowned artist. His sculptures, drawings, performances and shows now belong to the public domain, with official commissions, exhibitions and projects in his own name, as well as projects done together with other famous artists. Glowinski has been linked with the Botanique for some years now. It began with the installation of one of his giant skeletons in the Grand Salon for the 2012 Les Nuits Botanique festival, along with a jungle painting on the walls of the Rotunda, which two years later had overtaken all the walls of the orangery.
This time, the artist convinced his mum to join him in an exhibition in which their works intertwine in a disturbing way, creating this Mater Museum. Referring to his fascination with natural science museums, the Museum becomes a place in which to question our origins. Examining the beginning of the world and of his own creation process, this exhibition put together by Vincent revolves around the work of his mother and her haunting demons. It summons symbols, souvenirs, remains, unusual objects and other prehistoric remnants which he himself crafted, as well as his mother’s ceramics. The works come together, intermingle, influencing and sometimes completely redefining each other, changing or proliferating depending on their confrontation. The process reached its climax when Vincent, after learning leatherwork from a saddler in 2010, began covering his mother’s work with leather. Creating enormous skeletons – like the parchment leather whale at the Le Potemkine bar in Saint-Gilles – and monumental puppets from his own bestiary, Vincent used his mother’s creations as a starting point, as a way to “go back to her womb,” he wrote. “I reproduce my mother’s sculptures by covering them with skin. Once the skin has dried, I remove it from its matrix obtaining a moult (…) I, who have been shaped, moulded by her (… ) I once again borrow my shape from her, from the outside, over the contours of her work. The hollow duplicate that I pull out of her sculpture (…) acts as a way to remember, as an image I have created and that belongs to me alone. In this way, I make an idea of her work my own and give myself the freedom to manipulate it. Now that it is as light as a feather, I can suspend it, throw it, hit it, make it shine by putting light on it, I can even crash it or put it on my head. ” And that’s also what this exhibition is all about, as it cascades over two levels, like falling dominoes. The works interact, wink at each other and seem to make jokes here and there, be it without words or captions, like in this combination Tree “land” and Tree “leather” which are alike while being very different at the same time. One is black and the other is white, one is heavy, the other light, one is scarred and stitched up, the other decorated, unless these are tattoos, like Vincent suggested to Agnes. A way to kick off the next quatre mains project? For now, the Botanique is the place where their reunion comes alive.
Œuvres de Vincent Glowinski et Agnès Debizet
Botanique- Expo Museum
236 rue Royale
Wednesdays – Saturdays, from 12:00 to 20:00
Until 17 April