Les figures du socle
Guillaume La Brie
SERIES. La Partie I of STATUER. Les figures du socle was recently presented at Action Art Actuel artist-run centre (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu). With new artists and strictly pre-existing works, Partie II take place at Galerie B-312. It is not a project in circulation but rather a questioning in several stages about the pedestal’s powers in sculpture (plinth, bust, statuary, column and other 3D volumetric) during this nascent century. Public art, monumentality and commemoration related to the base are still current in contemporary art; the question of verticalism is not excluded.— COMMON PLINTH. The seven artists invited in this exhibition approach the figure of the plinth in their practice; but not simply. Over the course of the research leading up to this exhibition and the many works encountered along the way, it became apparent that these practitioners have had solo shows at Galerie B-312 in the last years: the first one being Valérie Blass in 2005 and the last being Jacinthe Loranger in the beginning of 2017.—REVISIT. Thus, the angle of this exhibition offers a formulation of redux and mashup-type with an environment created from works most of which have already been seen in this same space. Re-composition, evocation, transfer, echo, extraction, sections of solo, copy, republishing: this corpus also reflects on the necessity or not of the durability of the works, of their conservation or of a continuous reinterpretation, and of the transformation of the artists’ studio in places of storage.—Here, the curator updates the recent past, being both archivist-historian and translator by more or less free associations in a non-museum context: the artist-run centre. Incidentally, some frequent visitors of the Belgo will be able to perform the remembrance of such (these) room(s).—HISTORIES. Galerie B-312 was founded in 1991, so it’s a quarter century old. In the form of commissions, this exhibition could have celebrated the « B-312 institution » but the gallery is not the object. It operates thus by default.—2017 also marks the centenary of Marcel Duchamp’s controversial work, Fontaine, unveiled in 1917. But what is the work of art in this assemblage? the hijack of a connoted object-urinal? the signature R. Mutt 1917 directly on porcelain? its title, Fontaine? its placement on a base? The platform is capital indeed, because its erects, enhances, highlights what stands on it. Inseparable, the work and the base are consubstantial.—ANSWERS to the unique thought of the pedestal, the "plinth-artworks" value integration, fusion, hybridization in a plural aesthetic that has been emancipated from classical sculpture and its platform for more than a century. Disputed, dismissed, drawn and quartered, reduced or debauched by artists of modernity and by their heirs, the use of the plinth has experienced plenty of turbulence, yet a continuous presence. Various artistic movements and installation as well have made the sculpture fall from its perch. The plinth, nevertheless, never succumbs.
– Summary of text by EMMANUEL GALLAND
Galerie B-312 thanks: Atelier CLARK, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, SBC Galerie d’art contemporain, Geneviève Giasson and Sarah Hadjou, as well as the persons in charge of the Collection de la Ville de Montréal for the loan of Valérie Blass’s work. The artist is represented by Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver.
The curator Emmanuel Galland wishes to thank the Galerie B‑312 team as well as Jean-Marc Fredette, Caroline Hayeur, Debna, lady mcbouth, Yan Giguère, Lynda Gault, Rick-Phil Tau, Jean Eiffel, Sam Lam, Siphay Southidara and Jérôme Delgado.