Fantastic Visions Exhibition. Damien Colcombet and Albert Brenet
From March 20th to July 24th 2021
When one the best animal sculptor of our time meets a painting giant, on the walls. Exclusively in Brittany, the Cristel Éditeur d’Art Centre in Saint-Malo presents the animal sculptor Damien Colcombet and the painter Albert Brenet… From 20 March to 24 July, some thirty bronzes and forty works on paper can be discovered with free admission, during this 26th exhibition.
How can we not come back to this? Yes, how can we not recall Alain Delon’s admiration for him, who fell in love with his sculptures? An often-told story: it was at the turn of the century 2005-2006, when the famous actor added two of his pieces, a gorilla and a chimpanzee, to his prestigious collection. Since then, if Damien Colcombet has not denied this formidable patronage, it is an understatement to say that he has continued on his way, definitively marking his era. So much so that in September 2018, the magazine Chasses internationales could enthrone him in this way: “A gifted animal sculptor, probably the most brilliant of his generation in the figurative vein.” In fact, a gifted man, whose books tell us that he was born in Rennes in 1967 and now lives in Lyon, where his life-size bronze of a giraffe licking its giraffon stands in a park.
By what mystery does this man achieve so many wonders? We think we know his secret: the strength of his gaze, the sureness of his fingers, patience, passion, but above all, the unspeakable thrill, the foreshadowing of a requirement, without which there are no masterpieces. And isn’t this demonstrated by his third appointment at the Centre Cristel Éditeur d’Art in Saint-Malo, where he has an exclusive exhibition in Brittany? The evidence of an accomplished work, because it is mastered gesture after gesture, like a trainer who has only his hand to create the indispensable trust between him and the animal. One thinks, moreover, of the title of a small collection: Colcombet, l’animal. Way of explaining how much the artist invests and embodies in his bestiary, which becomes more surprising and varied every month. Domestic bestiary, with donkeys, horses, bulls, ducks, cows, boars. Wild bestiary with its famous elephants, lions, tigers, rhinoceroses, giraffes, gorillas and bears. Finally, a marine bestiary, since this Breton descendant now chisels, with the same happiness, whales, orcas, whales, sharks, narwhals. Not forgetting his inimitable gannet…
In short, an authentically marine Damien Colcombet, in dialogue with a newcomer: the illustrious and magnificent Albert Brenet, also offered exclusively at the Cristel Éditeur d’Art Centre. Do we still need to introduce this Faut-il encore présenter ce paintor-reporter, born in 1903 and died in 2005, after having run the earth for seventy years! This painter, crazy about travels and movement, with gouaches so dizzying that one of his disciples, Serge Markó, reported that there was a time when every art student “desperately sought to achieve this technique known as ‘à la Brenet’!” Behind the unquestionable genius of his touch, the portrait of a master covered with honours, appointed official painter of the Navy and painter of the Air Force in 1936, painter of the Army in 1959, and many times exhibited, many times rewarded and then bought by museums, was outlined. In fact, he was a nice man, who clearly preferred his freedom to glory, and who multiplied his subjects with as much conscience as enthusiasm. Or the art of skilfully fixing details within a lively whole, always very colourful, overflowing with joy, overflowing with life… What this first exhibition in Saint-Malo testifies to: the French countryside, the mountains of the Tyrol, the burning sands of Tunisia, Spain, the Netherlands, his fascination for Japan. And, of course, his own bestiary, bringing together impetuous sketches of lions, tigers, horses… Once again, what a stroke! Claw marks and horizons that initiate a beautiful tour of the world in 31 paintings and drawings, all unexpected and vibrant. Fantastic visions!