The glass form and the iron form
By Romain DUVAL
PHD in Aesthetics and Art theory from University Paris-I-Sorbonne

The striking thing about these fake twins does not reside in the fact that the iron and glass structures converge with one another despite the difference of their matter. The important thing is, in this visual proximity, that new visual complementarities appears, made from scratch and with a subtle temporality, like a "game of apparences." "The notion of "apparences" writes François Noudelmann, is far away from the notion of "resemblance" which connects us to the world in relatedness and similarity (while) it is from what comes after me that I can get this "apparence" and not from what was before me."

This is what Noudelmann calls a "random filiation" and this is exactly what is happening in Serge Delaune’s work, an overturn in the relationship to the model, evoking "fragments or random memories".

Serge Delaune molds the metamorphosed shapes of the iron structures he recovers on the beach or elsewhere. Those structures have been deformed by time, the sea, the sun, the rain or wind or many other encounters. This allows him to work with the transformations, contorsions and asperities the weathered yet strong matter has to offer to create his glass, not a "clone" but another shape emerging from the fire in a different way. There’s more to just a connection with before (the iron shape) and after (the glass). This implies a more complex relation, where the original form is molded in one time and then becomes a model in a second time. "The first one becomes both a sculptor and a sculpture, because it holds the second one in his shape" says the artist.

What seems to interest Serge Delaune is not just to be able to reproduce or create a shape that looks like something known, but more essentially not to confirm the match with the model by preferring to see different incarnation created by our own view as a spectator, those shapes now seem to have been all made at the same time and to be complementary. 

Those fragments of iron, found and gathered are not "prints" nor clues or traces to be linked to an original presence, a moment "after" where the glass would come from, they come from a superposition of moments, time and memories and the found piece has an history of it’s own (a previous life made of decomposition and recomposition created by the abrasive movements of nature), and it becomes true with what was before, in this case the glass construction.

Another significative detail is the choice of display and presentation. On the wall we realize that the piece of glass is older than the piece of iron (when there is no interaction), only because we believe in the power of visual perception (our eyes move from left to right and from top to bottom because of our occidental learning of reading). This might count as another proof, conscious or not, of the artist’s will to reverse the simple and didactic mechanism of this strange duet of matters, the before (the original piece of iron who was used as a model) and the after (the reproduction of this same piece of iron).

What Serge Delaune creates is a simultaneous fabrication of formal matters, with contrasted oppositions as transparency and brightness of the glass, versus the opacity and matt finish of the iron, the solidity of the iron (high resistance, slow decomposition) facing the extreme fragility of glass that might break at any moment and that decomposes faster) as well as the reversion of "apparence".

We can now consider that those two primitive matters have met before, and if one owes his existence to the other, the "second one" (the glass), should be perceived as the origin, the matrix, the mold of the other.