French artist Fred Martin has unveiled his community artwork Babel at ArtHouse Jersey at Capital House.
Babel is the final chapter of the Baptêmes de Terre story for Skipton Big Ideas Human Connections, a multi-venue exhibition that uses a range of different media to examine how we connect as human beings.
For a full week in the exhibition space in St Helier, Fred Martin delivered his ritual performance which involved immersing Jersey people’s faces in a bath of clay to create a series of unique expressive casts. The casts have been used to create this magnificent communal artwork that is now available to see in the gallery for the duration of the exhibition’s run until Sunday 17 December.
Born in 1969 in Lille, where he still lives and works, Fred Martin has a DNSEP degree in artistic expression from the École des Beaux-Arts in Tourcoing and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Lille. He does sculpture, photography, performance, drawing and printmaking. He cultivates a direct relationship with nature, the countryside and the human body, and follows a land art approach using wood and earth for his various projects (L’Odyssée, the monumental willow branch sculptures of Inanimatu, etc.).
His first long trips to Canada, Alaska, and South India gave him a taste for travel that he still pursues with his various site-specific installations and sculptures (in India, Senegal, South Korea, Burkina Faso, Europe and throughout France). In 1999, he began developing the principle of Baptêmes de Terre, a performance installation and participatory ritual in which the texture of clay is used to reveal, and intimacy, authenticity and our relationships with others serve as the material for a deeply humanistic piece.
This project has brought hundreds of people in Jersey together for a shared and profound ceremonial experience, with the casts revealing the most minute and intimate details of these beautiful faces. People are encouraged to come along and witness the artwork for themselves at ArtHouse Jersey at Capital House, alongside a stunning exhibition of other works all exploring the theme of how we connect as humans, including works by prominent international artists including Gina Czarnecki (UK), Tessa Garland (London, UK), Natasha Tontey (Indonesia), Arlene Wandera (London, UK) and Kit Monkman (UK).
Producers and Curators of ArtHouse Jersey at Capital House Natasha Dettman and Karen le Roy Harris said: “We were delighted when we discovered Fred Martin and Baptemes de Terre in France recently and knew this project would be perfect to sit at the heart of this very human-focused exhibition. It has been a highly engaging and moving couple of weeks for Islanders and ArtHouse Jersey alike, as these expressive masks were cast and the artwork pulled together live in our exhibition space. We’d like to thank the two hundred people who took part so joyously, artist Fred Martin for his stunning approach to both the work & participants and of course our sponsors Skipton International, without whom this exhibition would not be possible.”
More information about the exhibition can be found here.
Pictured: The finished communal artwork Babel by artist Fred Martin, the result of Baptêmes de terre as part of Skipton Big Ideas: Human Connections