Substance of Stars (Substance d'astre)

Despite its otherworldly appearance, the material reality of Substance of Stars is strikingly humble. Dubuffet created this faceted, shimmering work by crumpling and then re-flattening sheets of metal foil, which he then assembled into a larger composition, before adding subtle passages of paint. Dubuffet referred to much of his output of the 1950s as “mystical jubilations of the physical world.” Substance of Stars exemplifies this tendency. It shows the capacities inherent in a commonplace material subjected to a simple process. Simultaneously, through its title and shimmering surface, the work lyrically evokes the wonders of nature.