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SKYBOUND STREAMS

ANTHONY BAUSSY

Skybound Streams is a complex of sculptures and paintings made by Anthony Baussy in Bacalar, Mexico, between 2014 and 2024. The hand-sculpted plaster works were eroded due to jungle elements and broke into pieces due to travel, therefore they have been reworked and reassembled in ways that have diverged from past intentions.

The garden of El Sur becomes a setting for effigies, symbols and reanimated forms, presented as reanimated ruins created during our lifetime. The figures also serve as a document for Baussy, as they had revisited aging characters over 10 years, and had reshaped and translated them with each changing chapter of their lives. From Paris, Mexico, London, Northern California, and back to his homeland of France before returning to The South, they developed their life, their practice, and their worldview all together. Both creation and destruction are embraced to create contemporary ruins that illustrate the last decade of his life.

“I saw my studio garden through this three-panel CinemaScope window by Yasujirô Ozu and it made me think of Matisse’s Le Bonheur de Vivre.”

When viewed within the glass of their studio window, Baussy attempts to develop a “Hyper-Painting”. Hyper in the sense that it is real, beyond and past what we expect of representation as it engages space, place, self, and time. The body of work progresses the art historical cannon of representational painting by making the representational real and relevant to its creator’s reality and the cannon of figurative sculpture by allowing time to shape the body.

Baussy admits that the decade-long process was a way to try to make sense of their life and they look on each figure with a personal affection. Much like the artists of their homeland in the South of France, like Bonnard and Matisse, there is no separation from life and art. Art is the document of one’s life. So in this way, a repaired ruin can represent some passage of time, and illustrate how that time may have been difficult. The characters become approachable and real as their wounded nature grants them a sense of humility. Baussy chose to not only make figures that lived alongside them, but also works that aged with them.

Whilst “Skybound Streams” summarizes the recent biography of Anthony Baussy, it’s also one that reveals shifts and changes. Whilst Baussy attended the École des Beaux Arts of Paris and had learned to work with plaster at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in Germany, they only engaged colour after feeling a relief from the aesthetic constructs of “taste” that uphold minimalism as an aesthetic authority in Europe. There are works that hint at a change in world view and practice which were informed by their departure of Europe for Mexico.

The work “Hecatomb" is simply remnants of broken bull and dog sculptures collected into an upturned small wood-scrap table. The startling display could represent the impending downfall of Colonial Authority especially when paired against the colourful, full and shapely forms of maenad- like characters that blur with the garden and the boundaries of fantasy. These works are mended lovingly and show a deep respect for nature and the divine feminine. Baussy states, in their life, an allegiance.

Anthony Baussy’s “Skybound Streams” tells a story about 10 years of failures and revelations in an immersive painting that brings the representational back into reality, back into nature. What's it like to show outdoors in a garden?

—Tyler Eash

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