Marc-Aurèle DEBUT

Marc-Aurèle Debut - The Plight of Masculinity, 2023
Deep massage I (detail)
Deep massage II (detail)
SISSY (10kg) (detail)
How much do you bench? (detail)
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‘The Plight of Masculinity’, 2023

240 x 180 x 110 cm

Art installation composed of:


‘How Much Do You Bench?’

Bench press, garment rack rail tubes, textile, cone spikes, upholstery foam


‘SISSY ( 10kg )’

Chocolate whey protein powder, fine oatmeal, Epoxy resin.


‘Deep Massage I’

Foam roller, cone spikes.


‘Deep Massage II‘

Styrofoam ball, bleach, black spray paint, cone spike.


‘Floor Work’

Gym foam mats, mirrored acrylic.




We live in a society that values physical appearance, leading many to experience anxiety and self-criticism in pursuit of perfection.


‘The plight of masculinity’, 2023 is an installation composed of 5 sculptures challenging the impact of modern cultural and societal standards of beauty in gay culture. As a center piece, Marc-Aurèle Debut presents a sculptural bench press, the emblematic gym equipment stereotypically associated with manliness in Western society.


With this art installation, Debut exposes the Adonis complex and its effect on mental and body health within his own community. This complex is an unspoken expectation, specific to men, that revolves around an obsession with muscularity and the idealized “Adonis” physique. Gay men often feel compelled to conform to this standard, that hey must always be deemed attractive to gain acceptance, leading to body dysmorphia, eating disorders, obsessive behaviour with excessive exercise, supplement and substance use. Compounded further by societal pressures from social media and dating apps permitting body shaming, it is crucial to acknowledge and challenge the Adonis complex, promoting self-acceptance, diverse body types, and prioritising mental well-being within the LGBTQ+ community.




Marc-Aurèle Debut is a French conceptual sculpture artist living and working in London. He received a BA in Fine art from CSM and a MA in Sculpture from RCA.  M-A Debut explores the cultural and psychological complexities of sexuality, body politics, and mental health inspired by human-related scientific studies, philosophical and artistic theories. The body is a recurring theme in his work, expressing queer experiences and investigating its currency within queer communities. His sculptures exist between a humorous reflection and a cathartic method about such practices, using techniques and objects to identify the body’s intrinsic reactions to structural and environmental influences.




3 – Good Health and Well-being

5 – Gender Equality

10 – Reduced Inequalities

12 – Responsible Consumption and Production