Jean Kerbrat

Galerie du Genie

The moral of Jean Kerbrat’s sculpture is that life consists of memory, responsibility, and death. Especially death, which is evoked, if not imposed upon us, by the very material of his most recent pieces: funereal slabs of granite and marble that hang on the walls or lie on the floor as implacable monuments to mortality. On their flat surfaces, laser-engraved in pseudotombstone style, are an assortment of texts—book indexes, front-page news stories, a personal ad, and one stranger-than-fiction but no less authentic letter from the Social Security administration announcing artist Kerbrat’s own demise. But unlike tombstones, these are not, in any sense, monolithic works; elaborated and overelaborated with their texts and textures and incongruous accretions—metal frames, tin boxes, a drinking glass, or a piece of rock—each one is a puzzle, and more often than not, a provocation.

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