A series of abstract paintings that celebrate the wild beauty of an active volcano on the island of Réunion.
Born in Montpellier, France, Brussels-based artist and musician Brice Guilbert grew up on the island of Réunion, which is located in the Indian Ocean, close to Madagascar. His childhood and Creole roots shaped his approach to art, in the sense that the spectacular landscapes of Réunion always appear in his work, in one way or another. Volcanoes are the central theme of Guilbert’s artwork. No surprise, considering that the island is the home of an active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise. In his Takamaka series, the artist also explores the monumental presence and wild beauty of the volcano. The exhibition opened in 2018 at Royal, the artist’s studio that also doubles as an art gallery, in Brussels, Belgium.
Made with oil sticks on paper, the artworks depict the volcano as seen from the small village of Takamaka, located on the southeast of the island of Réunion, close to the caldera. While it remains a constant thread, Piton de la Fournaise appears widely different, throughout the series. Some artworks depict the volcano at night, others in the early morning light, and others in the darkening glow of twilight. Furthermore, paintings display the volcano before, during and after eruption, with lava bursting through the vent, into the air, and then flowing towards the ocean.
Created in layers, the artworks present these violent natural events with abstract forms and explosions of color and texture. To make each piece, the artist uses homemade oil sticks and a heat gun, building the work layer by layer, similarly to the notes of a song. The artworks feature vastly different atmospheres, textures, and color palettes, capturing the volcano’s different faces in all of their abstract beauty. Photography © Brice Guilbert.