Atlas : Constellation II

Simon Bertrand

Atlas : Constellation II

  • Exhibition
© Simon Bertrand. Atlas : Constellation II (detail) —Photo : Guy L Heureux

Simon Bertrand was born in 1980. In 2009, he obtained a Master’s degree in Visual and Media Arts from UQAM. His work has been presented in several solo exhibitions notably at Galerie de l’UQAM (2009), Maison de la culture Marie-Uguay (2010), Maison de la culture Maisonneuve (2013) and Galerie René Blouin (2014-2017). His group exhibitions include The state of parenthesis, Galerie UQO (2017—Curator: Marie-Hélène Leblanc) and Exercices de lecture, Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery (2015—Curator: Katrie Gagnon). He also participated in the Symposium international d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul (2014). His artworks appear in numerous private collections in Québec and Canada, as well as in the collection Prêt d’œuvres d’art of Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Simon Bertrand is represented by Galerie René Blouin. 


The artist will be present on Saturdays from 2 :30 pm to 5 pm.


6 September 2018 to 13 October 2018

For the last decade, Simon Bertrand has developed an artistic practice where emblematic texts - literary, poetic, religious - serve as anchor points. Among other things, he has made a complete transcription of the Bible, thus redirecting the figure of the script. This is not a question of duplicating the book, but rather showing the text at a glance, making visible the gesture of writing in its materialization, implying the performative nature of the project. Physically demanding, his transcripts have had their consequences, forcing him to reconsider his work process during the first part of Atlas presented at René Blouin in 2017. He then began to memorize the texts to rewrite them with his eyes closed. In the same manner, he developed a celestial map consisting of one million points representing the galaxies visible to date. Allegorically, these points represent a text, an author, which will then be connected to form a fictional constellation, bringing together various temporalities and fields of knowledge.— For Atlas: Constellation II, Simon Bertrand expanded his research of textual transposition even further. Indeed, if he does not change the content of the texts, he reconfigures them to better appropriate them: omissions, layouts and more recently, coded visual translations and writing from right to left (1). These strategies infuse new forms, create new dialogues by evoking the texts differently while expanding the artist’s proposals.—After being imbued with the texts, Simon Bertrand has sort of passed through the looking-glass by creating, in situ, an immersive textual space. On the wall, a short story by Miranda July is transcribed in a coded writing, referring to the neurological phenomenon of synaesthesia called grapheme-color. The artist has assigned a color to each letter of the alphabet. For the vowels, he used Rimbaud’s eponymous poem, and for the consonants, he consulted statistics revealing the colors most often perceived by the synesthetes. In the small room of the gallery, we can incidentally see the first occurrence of this coded writing with Anne Hébert’s poem Il y a certainement quelqu’un. This encoding frees the artist from the Latin form of the letter which is simply replaced by a mark, a line, echoing the first forms of writing. After his first transcripts that made him known, Simon Bertrand knew he had to solicit the participation of friends and artists to continue his research. Thus, for Atlas: Constellation II, he called out various collaborators (2), suggesting new openings in his practice.



1. This reversal in the orientation of the text continues since his project The Prophet where the text of Khalil Gibran was re-transcribed in English and Arabic. This artwork is in reference to the sudden passing of a friend. The artist is honoring his friend’s memory by preserving this way of writing.

2. The mural project was created by Simon Bertrand and Élise Lafontaine. The artist would like to thank Nicolas Dufour-Laperrière, Maude Arès, Alexandre Bérubé, Éric Bolduc, Vanessa Suzanne, Élise Lafontaine, Éliot B. Lafrenière, Maggy Metsos and Gabrielle Gauthier.