At the core of Guillaume Adjutor Provost’s practice is an interest in the presentation context of an artwork within an exhibition space. The artist sees the presentation of an installation not as an end in itself, but as a site of action and contemplation that goes beyond the presented work. In this context, the artist also acts in a curatorial way by creating a relationship between a body of work and a research space that is open to artistic, theoretical, and critical collaboration.
The installation, titled Bonne fortune, provides an initial point of entry through the use of adhesive vinyl signage that lists each work, as well as the interventions that are set to occur within the installation, and the collaborators who will take part in creating dialogue with the works. This formal and textual element underlines the artist’s commitment to creating an exhibition through a shared artistic agency. The installation begins as soon as we enter the gallery space, where rows of work shirts are hung. The shirt’s interior collars have been embellished with printed reproductions of QSL cards, which were commonly traded among truck drivers throughout Quebec during the 1970s to 1990s. The artist had initially hoped these would provide politically engaged expressions of the industry’s working conditions. Instead, he found an iconography of rather comical and crudely drawn images that often involved some sort of sexual innuendo.
Throughout the gallery, three large-format works are hung as backdrops that punctuate the space. Reminiscent of a psychedelic, tie-dye aesthetic, each surface is emblazoned with the CSN logo (Confédération des syndicats nationaux, or, Confederation of National Trade Unions), its shape deliberately left unclear and deformed through Provost’s technique. As an installation, Bonne fortune will evolve conceptually throughout the exhibition, activated at different points, namely through a performance by Sarah Chouinard-Poirier.
So what is the “good fortune” in this exhibition? Maybe it’s in the pleasure of letting oneself get caught up in the work, of being a player in its evolution. Within the art world, one thinks of unpredictability, of a change of direction in ones career, of decision-making. Good fortune is the passive desire to improve our lot in life. It’s something that can’t be bought. It just happens, often by surprise. Much like mounting an exhibition, it's an evasive thing that is expected to shift from ideation to arrangement within a space. For Provost, the exhibition becomes a site of privilege where not only the work is cared for, but also the artist and the public.
Guillaume Adjutor Provost is currently pursuing his doctoral degree at the Université du Québec à Montréal. His research focuses on the concept of curatorial art, namely the use of curatorial approaches as creative practice. His recent projects employ hybrid propositions that borrow from the languages of visual art, curating and literature. Through an indeterminateness of forms, Guillaume Adjutor Provost’s production plumbs our unconscious expressions, the idea of usage and the construction of ideals. More specifically, he is interested in what lies in the periphery of history-making: counter-culture, personal archives, queer theory and science-fiction. His past awards include grants from the Conseil des Arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, the OJIQ, the Sodec and the Jean-Claude Rochefort prize in contemporary art. Guillaume Adjutor Provost’s work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Switzerland. He has recently been awarded a three-year studio at Darling Foundry, beginning in the summer of 2016.
Guillaume Adjutor Provost would like to thank the Centre CLARK team, Sagamie, the Fondation Christoph Merian, the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, as well as the collaborators participating in this project.
- GUILLAUME ADJUTOR PROVOST et al.
MARCH 3 TO APRIL 9, 2016
THURSDAY MARCH 3, 8PM
SARAH CHOUINARD-POIRIER /
THURSDAY MARCH 24, 7PM
ARTIST TALK /
SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 3PM