Les Toasts sont cuites

Exhibition presented at :

La Maison des Artistes Visuels Francophones

Saint-Boniface (Winnipeg) 

A new perspective emerges when two paradigms, which are rarely juxtaposed, intersect. Louis Bouvier utilizes an overlapping methodology to construct the exhibit.

When looking at familiar objects or symbols, strong preconceived ideas about them surface. However when these ideas are contrasted with different aesthetics, eras and cultural environments, their familiar story begin to shift. For example, when looking at Been There Done That, we identify the backdrop to be a peaceful landscape where sunlight filters through the clouds to graze the earth below. The sunrays might be interpreted as the omnipresence of God looking down on earth. The wild landscape also depicts stereotypical Canadian scenery often rendered in paintings or drawings. When we read Been There Done That in the sky, the initial interpretation of the image changes; we are forced to think about the link between the words and the image and ask ourselves some questions.

With the help of familiar symbols, the exhibit draws us in easily to engage the works and allow us to decode several layers of information. The installation titled Méta comme dans le sens de Métacan be appreciated for its esthetic: the composition of the drawing, the labour intensive charcoal drawing, the fabrication and form of the coloured hands or the wax brackets that give the illusion they support the shelf above. This initial reading offers one way to appreciate the installation but if we choose to analyse it further, it is possible to realize that the drawing depicts the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 when seven individuals lost their lives. This information immediately changes the way we view the image and adds a deeper dimension to the installation. Bouvier does not expect this information to be common knowledge; rather he leaves us in a state of not knowing and allows the elements in the exhibit to come across as enigmas with no answers. In this way, the exhibit will speak differently to everyone based on his or her life experiences.

Another layer of information, with a touch of humour, can be decoded in the way the exhibit is put together. When looking at Méta comme dans le sens de Méta, the shelf is purposely mounted across the drawing so that it reads as a backdrop for the sculptures that are placed in front of it. Bouvier has a way of leveling hierarchies even amongst the elements grouped in an installation. This is also why the light in the gallery is kept flat and uniform.

Marianne Moquin (Curator)

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