Man of Action: Vincent Dubourg’s Vortex at Carpenters Workshop
There is nothing static about Vincent Dubourg’s designs. Always on the cusp of action, they exude an almost gravity-defying kineticism: a commode exploding in midair, a slanted staircase seemingly on the brink of collapse, a precariously balanced ottoman. This sense of movement is encapsulated in his latest exhibition, Vortex, on view until tomorrow at Carpenters Workshop Gallery (and will open in the gallery’s London location in Spring 2018). Using this powerful, natural phenomenon as his inspiration, he transforms typically inert, quotidian objects into animated pieces of design. Dubourg spoke with us about this latest work and how his phantasmagoric visions from childhood led him to design.
Nicole Anderson/Modern Magazine: Could you tell me a bit about your background—and what spurred your interest in design?
Vincent Dubourg: I had an experience when I was eleven that changed my life. I dreamt that I was in bed, looking at the ceiling and I saw a falling star. Beside me, I saw a toad. The toad croaked at me and I started to levitate. I saw the universe in that dream and felt it within me. The most important thing for me is to create a universe. This story of each piece is important. I am conscious of its fabrication. I want to build a universe that I can feel and that I can build—to a create something that has a function as an object and that can also be comfortable.
MM: Could you tell me a bit about your creative process? How a design is cultivated from initial concept to its actualization as a physical work?
VD: The material makes me evolve. My work is sometimes expressed by a series of drawings, texts, and the preparation of dimensions. The drawings often take the form of a print. I rough out the sculpture projects in plaster. I handle my blowtorch like a paintbrush and delicately fuse aluminum plates. The object is never finished, sometimes you cut too quickly, you unbalance the piece, you can mess everything up.
MM: Were there any surprising challenges you were confronted with when creating these new pieces?
VD: Every item and every piece has its challenges. The most challenging piece I have ever created was the Staircase. It is 5 tons of metal and goes against the regular rules of architecture and construction. Like many of my pieces, it didn’t follow the usual plans of an architect; it is more like a natural object.
MM: Can you tell me what inspired you to mark the objects, such as in the Gaïa Imprint series, or with the Matsyendra, Uttara, and Veda? What is the effect or impact of marking an object?
VD: The percentage of the aluminum inspired the pieces. Aluminum has its own qualities that you can see on the surface. I used its own natural motifs to guide me to organize the discourse.
MM: What role does nature play in your work?
VD: I’m led by a strong, irrepressible intuition. I recreate life through forces in motion: water, fire, and wind guide the form and the structure.