As part of Le Son a des jambes (Sound has legs) exhibition series, the curator Eric Mattson has brought together the artists Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Minibloc and Jérôme Fortin to follow up on an exploratory reflection on sound as material. The title of this series is a twist on John Cage's affirmation according to which “sound has no legs to stand on.” The project engages sound outside of the framework usually assigned to it so as to explore its visual and tactile ramifications, by drawing on a broad interpretation that focuses on sound matter as an object of analysis and knowledge.
Jean-Pierre Gauthier's work Pentacles imbriqués, which follows in the recent sculpture series “Instants angulaires,” is presented as a mobile structure programmed to move an assemblage of chrome steel poles. These poles-actually shower curtain supports-draw disjointed movements in the air that ceaselessly deconstruct and reconstruct “variable-geometry forms.” The audio capture and amplification of the internal resonances caused by rice grains hidden inside these metallic tubes generate a subtle soundtrack. The structure's morphology and atypical motions in combination with the reuse of a banal object evoke a recurrent theme in Gauthier's work, i.e. the fictional and disordered world of an obsessive-compulsive janitor. The sculptural, mobile and audio dimensions of the ensemble all partake in this unusual and hectic world.
With their first installation Oreilles, the composersAnne-Françoise Jacques and Nicolas Dion of the duo Minibloc, propose simple interactive strategies that stimulate attentive listening. Visitors must activate small listening stations spread throughout the gallery in order to hear the sound content emanating from small electronic circuits and “homemade” speakers. The acoustic properties of these stationary objects are accentuated and diverted, and thereby play on our perceptions of sound. Minibloc's playful mechanisms present the raw or functional object as a sound matter in its own right.
On a more contemplative note, Jérôme Fortin presents Ring, a work whose support consists solely of a vinyl record. In direct reference to Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) a cycle of four operas by Richard Wagner, this limited edition work invites us to a silent listening of the composition, for the record actually contains no music. Through the conceptual nature of his project, Fortin touches on questions of the inaudible and absence, of the determining reach of silence and the foreseen disappearance of the artistic support that is the vinyl record.
In the context of the exhibition, Eric Mattson is inviting the public to a special event during which Jean-Pierre Gauthier and Minibloc will present new sound performances. This “unpredictable concert” will take place on September 25, 2009, at 8:00 PM in the Loading Dock space adjacent to the galerie Clark within the framework of VIVA! Art Action 2009.
Jean-Pierre Gauthier is represented by the Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
Jérôme Fortin is represented by Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, Montréal.
Anne-Françoise Jacques and Nicolas Dion would like to thank the Canada Council for
the Arts for its financial support.
The curator thanks the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for making the exhibition and performance possible, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal for the loan of Jean-Pierre Gauthier's work, and Nicole Gingras for her judicious advice.