Benjamin Sabatier – Inventory

Monograph published by Anamosa (Paris), 2022, 152 p.

Sabatier initiated as soon as 2002 Kit IBK, a series of flat-pack pseudo-paintings sold in limited editions, each accompanied with a multilingual user’s manual, illustrated plans, sometimes even a demonstration DVD, and all the materials and tools needed for their fabrication. Among them, Pointillisme néo-dada, JOVB 7651 (2002) for example consisted in hammering in thousands of colourful drawing pins to shape a geometrical abstraction. While this type of works led to Sabatier’s first gallery show Peinture en Kit at Noirmont Prospect in 2003, they also motivated less conformist displays such as Stand IBK, a stall he ran at the historic Parisian department store Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville (BHV) in 2006. Following the same fabrication mode years later, Hard Work – DIY 914 (2012) literally instructed its acquirers to inscribe their hard graft onto the wall, namely the kit’s title in Looney Tunes happy-lookingfonts, yet in hollow and with much cheaper nails. It goes without saying that some collectors naturally preferred to keep their hands and kits intact. After all, assembling them would run the risk of making them loose some of their hypothetical value, the use one at least. What an uncanny feat for a piece of art, indeed. To hammer or not to hammer, that is the question.

Excerpt, p. 81.