Arthur Rimbaud’s Inebriated boat

a sculpture by Bruce Krebs

I imagined a schooner’s hull on the sides of which
are evoked, in braille script, excerpts from Rimbaud’s text
and accompanied by bas-reliefs that illustrate the poem.

What does this poem say ?

A vessel, drawn by haloons, was «released» after an Indian attack... It joyfully joins the sea and the Inebriated of the great spaces wins him. « (...) And I have sometimes seen what man thought he saw !»
But, exhausted after so many years of racing at sea, he wishes to return soon to his native pontoon...

The boat "speaks" first person.
That is why this poem is also an allegory of the poet.
The figurehead represents Rimbaud himself
since this text evokes « the poet-ship ».

The poem begins as this:
As I descended from the immovable rivers,
I no longer felt guided by the heat :
Screaming Red-skins had targeted them,
Having nailed them naked to colored posts.

Among the bas-reliefs, we recognize several images :
thirsty, indian, panthers, sea monsters, sea bream,
fish benches, snakes, bird clouds, clouds,
pack ice, storms, seahorses, hippos…

These frescoes are descriptive and narrative. These images are joyously chained by following, despite everything, the text that begins at the bow, develops on the port side, the stern and ends on the starboard side.

The heat, the Indian attack, the panther...

...marine monsters, sea bream, hippopotamus, seahorses…

and I added a little cat witch play with a monster, at the stern !

Dimensions :
Length : 50 cm , Width : 16 cm, Height : 20,5 cm .

It was on the occasion of a carving contest, whose theme was «The touch», that I imagined this sculpture "for the blind". A sculpture on which Braille texts would be mixed with many small bas-reliefs to touch and see. I then chose to represent a gabarian. I then preferred him a schooner.

Here is my first sketch:

In the competition, I thought that blind walkers would be more sensitive to animal and vegetation descriptions rather than sea storms and atmospheric movements…

Simulation 1
Project of a sculpture for the blind to be discovered by touch and sight (for those who accompany them). Touch the frescos and texts in Braille, and see from close up. Close up to discover all the bas-reliefs illustrating the details of the narration and from afar to observe this abandoned hull full of mysteries.

Simulation 2
Not having been selected in the final phase,

this competition allowed me to explore a form of unexpected sculpture...

Do you want to go back tothe gallery ?


Bruce Krebs, sculptor
9 ter rue Amelot, 17 000 La Rochelle,
France, Europe.
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