Art Criticism

Benjamin Sabatier: Be it yourself! What is it?

Benjamin Sabatier: Kit IBK – DIY 1371 (2007).
Website introduction published at www.ibk.fr (Paris), 2010.

Since its foundation in 2001, IBK (International Benjamin’s Kit) has brought Benjamin Sabatier’s aesthetical programme to the core of socio-economic realities. Conceived as an artwork by itself and an actual production structure, with an acronym mirroring as much deliberately the chain IKEA’s as it does Yves Klein’s patented colour IKB’s (International Klein Blue), IBK reflects on contemporary art through the prism of merchandise. Opportunely, the artist’s name invokes on its own Walter Benjamin’s art theories in the age of technical reproducibility.

While encompassing potentially serial yet unique artworks – assemblages and kits, the materials of which are systematically pulled from the immediate, affordable or residual, environment of consumption (notably construction) –, IBK is guided by the will to make the artistic experience accessible in the continuation of the DIY (Do It Yourself) philosophy stemming from the 1960s hippie and anticonsumerist utopias. Indeed, Benjamin Sabatier encourages the consumers’ participation and creative emancipation through bricolage and the possible appropriation of his transparent modes of fabrication.

Thus IBK, the aesthetical concept of which offers a model of alternative economy for the art market, proposes to erase the separation between the functions of production and consumption that deprives consumers of their knowledge, that is their ability to partake in the socialisation of the world through its transformation. In regards to the current economic issues that engage our societies cooperatively (the environment, the waste treatment, the fair trade, the growth or the sharing of social experiences in a broad sense), IBK suggests the becoming-artist of each and everyone in the fusion of the aesthetic and creative experience.

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