Thirty years is a long time for any couple to stay together, but the feat is always more impressive when they are also creative collaborators. For Paris-based artistic duo Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg, personal history carries metaphorical weight in Journey in a Life Boat, which opens at David Richard Contemporary on the eve of a major retrospective of their work in Switzerland.
DRC Director David Eichholtz considers this current body of work a culmination of the couple’s art so far. Baldwin and Guggisberg’s specialty is crafting colorful boats and their attendant cargo (such as bottles or egg-like objects) out of glass, metal, sand and wood.
“[Journey is] really about the concept of the boat as a metaphor for life and life’s journey,” Eichholtz says. In assembling these objects, the couple employs the Swedish technique (layering multiple sheets of glass) and the Italian battuto technique (cutting into the glass). Increased use of the Italian method has made a major impact on how the pair conceptualizes its work.
“In cutting through that, [battuto] is a way of revealing part of ourselves because now we’re able to look in and through those colors and layers,” Eichholtz says. Although the jury’s out on the vessels’ real-life seaworthiness, they still make for gorgeous representations.