Air Fer Mer: Dominique Labauvie


Dominique Labauvie (French, b. 1948)Maison Dépliée, 1994. Forged and waxed steel. Courtesy of the artist and Bleu Acier, Inc. Photographer: Philip LaDeau.

Artist Dominique Labauvie (French, b. 1948) unites language,
both his native French and English, with image in his architectonic steel sculptures. Air Fer Mer, the title of the outdoor installation on the Sullivan Terrace, as well as the title of one the sculptures on view, reflects the artist’s play on language—“air fer mer” spoken aloud sounds like “éphémère,” the French word for “ephemeral.” Ephemerality embodies the essence of Labauvie’s art. Although his medium of industrial steel suggests a sense of permanence, Labauvie aims to capture fleeting moments in his sculpture—from the movement of light and shadows, to the passage of time and life unfolding around us. “Air Fer Mer” also translates to iron, air, sea—a fitting description of the objects’ relationship to the natural world. In this unique setting, four of Labauvie’s sculptures exist in harmony with the Hillsborough River and Tampa skyline.