Tuf-Cal, hemp, iron rebar, wood, graphite, charcoal

260.35 x 228.6 x 140 cm (102 1/2 x 90 x 81 in.)

British artist Thomas Houseago’s sculpture Baby immediately imposes its monumentality on the viewer, who quickly realises that it’s full of paradoxes. First of all, is it a sculpture or a drawing? The two media’s consubstantiality suggest a precarious, vulnerable giant. His squatting position is ambiguous: is he standing up or sitting down? His fist, firmly anchored in the ground, suggests that he is trying to stand up.

The guesswork continues when we try to connect the baby to parents and a story. Haven't we seen him somewhere before? Does he recall African masks or Michelangelo's Squatting Child, whose unfinished aesthetic Houseago seems to take up? Is it a creature based on Giacometti, with its plaster shapes on metal rods? Or a hip-hop dancer in action?

Baby is a rich, important sculpture because it condenses the many tensions present in Houseago's work. Both typical and unique, it is a key link in the Pinault Collection's monumental sculpture collection. The sculpture was first presented in 2018 during the "Debout !" exhibition at the Couvent des Jacobins in Rennes.
  • Debout !

    Couvent des Jacobins