Busts made of polyurethane foam, this is the speciality of Etienne Gros, a French artist whose artistic research revolves entirely around the human body and its representation.
Etienne studied at various art schools before graduating from the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris and was awarded the Grand Prix Azart in 2006. His production is divided into 3 projects that focus on the human figure but with different media. We have the paintings or “Peintures”, the “Fumées” – works made using the smoke left by a candle flame – and the “Mousses”, which caught our attention.
The “Mousses” are sculptures of human busts made of foam rubber, polyurethane foam, a material that looks very similar to leather.
“This consistency of polyurethane foam, its density, its flexibility, its pores, its colour, its softness have characteristics identical to the flesh of a human body.”
Through these works Etienne Gros wants to represent life and death: with time the foam will wear out and deteriorate, revealing an iron skeleton visible only through an X-ray and which will be the only thing to survive.
The question now arises: why polyurethane foam? The choice of this material was not at all accidental: it is the material used to make the cushions and mattresses of our beds and sofas.
In this way, the material on which we live most of our lives, on which we rest, on which we make love and on which we die becomes the material of our bodies.