In geology, a pluton is a type of rock formed by the crystallization of magma deep beneath the earth’s or ocean’s crust.
Magma provides a fertile image to describe Carolyne Scenna’s practice. It evokes the flow of ideas and references that come together in her work. Furthermore, it illustrates the operation of networks and free associations that form the basis of an artistic approach that highlights the ambiguous, the unpredictable and the paradoxical.
For Pluton, Scenna draws equally from her personal archive, popular culture, the Web, youth culture, and urban experience. From the exhibition title to her chosen symbols (whether it be the serpent, the volcano, or a brick wall), each element allows her to explore the polysemy of these images by working against their fixedness. It is an ever-changing cartography that, above all, strives to remain open because it is perpetually in the making. So much so, that even this installation already contains its potential reuses—and conversely, bears the residue of previous exhibitions: pre-existing works, recycled materials, and views of maquettes and her creative process.
Like the two-headed serpent that populates Scenna’s visual vocabulary, the thread throughout her work has no beginning or end. It’s an intentional indecision. Magnified.
Right from the small gallery’s entrance, we are submerged in a strange space that transmits this indecision into material and audible form. Suspended in an unspecified space-time, this immersive installation is like a cave or a clandestine hideaway that invites us to stop and stay for a while.
The cloth-covered floor has absorbed the trickles of paint that run along the walls. All around the room, a soluble mixture of artisanal gouache has been sprayed with a fire extinguisher. From the background, sinuous folding patterns emerge, inspired by urban beautification projects meant to combat “undesirable” graffiti. Again, Scenna plays with ambiguity: while this remorse is primarily meant to conceal, here it is celebrated for its intrinsic formal qualities.
At the back of the gallery, a temporary wall features a lo-tech video projection consisting of screenshots of various digitized animations from various sources: 35mm photographs, drawings, and live recordings of these images being processed, which are then juxtaposed and superimposed. This montage is presented in a desynchronized manner, that is, with no pre-established sequence with the surrounding sound environment. The voice that punctuates the soundtrack offers a narrative inspired by museum audio guides, but whose text— an assemblage of personal notes and found excerpts—would negate any clear pedagogical function, thus reinforcing the ambiguities and discrepancies put forth in Pluton.
Carolyne Scenna holds a Masters in Visual and Media Arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal (2017). Her work takes on many forms including photographs, lo-fi videos, installations, and objects. Her collective, Les Sabines, has published nine fanzines to date, a multimedia performance (La vie en reel, performed on several occasions since 2013), and most recently, interventions in the public sphere. Her work has been presented at Les Territoires (forced air : les ventilateurs, 2015), at Parisian Laundry (Collision 12, 2016), and at Galerie de l’UQAM (Je suis la pire à ce que je fais le mieux et pour don je me sens bénie, 2017). In 2021, she will present her project Le phénomène du dortoir (in collaboration with Isabelle Guimond) at Centre SKOL. She lives and works in Montréal.
Atelier Clark + Centre Clark, Sophie Desmarais, Isabelle Guimond, Vincent Lafrance, Simon Trottier, Joël Vaudreuil, Maxime Veilleux.
- Carolyne Scenna
FEBRUARY 28 TO APRIL 6, 2019
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 8PM
ARTIST TALK /
SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 3PM