09 / 03 / 2015

Benjamin Sabatier and his painting kit


A work of art in a kit from Benjamin Sabatier first appears in the form of a simple, even banal, cardboard box with a basic white label that states the contents of the box. It is all topped off with a black and white IBK logo. If you open it, you will find a colour design composed of coloured dots that create a geometric pattern. You will also find plastic bags that contain coloured thumb tacks, a folded paper pattern that shows you how to make the design, a small leaflet that provides instructions and a wooden tool that will help you avoid hurting yourself as you press in the thumb tacks. The rest is simple. Just choose the ideal location – above the sofa, in your office, in your teenager's bedroom – and get to work. Because the "do it yourself" principle means that you are the one who makes the art by following the instructions provided by the IBK company. Once the piece is completed, all that remains is to invite your friends to a very intimate private showing. You have become the proud owner of an IBK work, of which you are also the creator. Another option for art object connoisseurs is to simply keep the box intact without ever opening it. Or why not buy two so that one can hang on the wall and the other can be carefully preserved in its unopened box?

Beyond the DIY aspect, the IBK kit is conceived as a production structure and, most importantly, a piece of art in its own right in Benjamin Sabatier's work. The logo is an explicit reference to the business world (IBM, IKEA, MBK, etc.). Yet it is also firmly rooted in the realm of art because its acronym simultaneously echoes IKB (International Klein's Blue), the famous shade of blue patented by Yves Klein, while the artist's first name alludes to Walter Benjamin and the theories he advanced in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. His process can currently be seen at the HEC campus in an exhibit that raises questions about the relationship between enterprises and art: Economie humaine ("Human Economy"). It is a great opportunity to see in person the truthfulness of artist Benjamin Sabatier's comments about the world of work.


Current exhibitions:

-Obsession, Maison Particulière Art Center, Brussels, 22 January to 29 March 2015

-Un Cabinet de Curiosités (curator: Antoine Lefebvre), Undercurrent Projects, New York

-Wish You Were Here, Galerie Catherine Issert, Saint Paul de Vence, until 31 January 

-Economie Humaine (curator: Paul Ardenne), Espace d'Art Contemporain de HEC, Jouy-en-Josas, France (cat.) until 6 March

 

Image caption:

Benjamin Sabatier painting kit