Les Sabines

Philippe Dumaine
  • Travailleuses de la culture, performance, Espace Cercle Carré, Montréal 2015. Photo: Laurence Poirier
  • Installation view, Arprim Centre d'essai en art imprimé, Montréal, 2016. Photo: © Les Sabines
  • Installation view, Arprim Centre d'essai en art imprimé, Montréal, 2016. Photo: © Les Sabines
  • Travaille mon ostie, 2014. Photo: © Les Sabines
  • Sans titre, 2016. Photo: © Les Sabines
  • Criss oui, 2016. Photo: © Les Sabines
  • La subvention salariale, 2016. Photo: © Les Sabines

Les Sabines, a Montréal duo of self-declared cultural entrepreneurs, have produced a series of publications in the form of zines that have appeared at a rate of one per year since 2009. These are visual essays heralding big issues under portentous titles tenuously related to their actual content: L’hyper-réalisme au temps de Napoléon, L’existentialisme est un humanisme II, La post-image. Taking advantage of copyright procedures, Les Sabines get their publications indexed in various international, national, and provincial archives, thus building up an aura of legitimacy.

The often sketchy drawings in the zines are filled with references to the labour attached to a fledgling artist’s career — preparations for a performance, building a personal website, drafting grant applications, calls for projects, workshops, symposia. With Les Sabines, as in life, these experiences are juxtaposed with those garnered in early jobs and internships in the cultural sphere. The little victories and lucky breaks are interspersed with anxieties, mistakes, doubts. One senses a fatigue, as if completing the work had required too much effort for Les Sabines, who are ambitious procrastinators.

They use derisive humour to broach the pressures of work and of striving for success that are inseparable from artists’ everyday lives. Their zines, millennial self--fictionalizations, are marked by the language of the web and a certain attitude that emanates from meme culture: ironies, surprising juxtapositions of text and image, appropriations of popular culture, references to current events. They conjure self-promotion and “career development,” even as they mock current trends in the marketing of contemporary art.

In performances and installations, Les Sabines -pursue reflections on cultural work by calling attention to small and often thankless chores. They exhibit the bulky archival boxes of the Conseil québécois de l’estampe and become volunteer caterers for a conference. They play interns who are in over their heads in a fanzine workshop spat at the Nuit blanche, then use their allotted time at a performance event to clean up the mess left by the preceding acts. By a curious alchemy, Les Sabines transform embarrassment, discomfort, and awkwardness into an opportunity to shine.

Translated from the French by Ron Ross

Captions

2- Travailleuses de la culture, since 2015, installation view during the lauch of the publication Le programme institutionnel, Arprim Centre d'essai en art imprimé, Montréal, 2016. Photo: © Les Sabines
3- Travailleuses de la culture, since 2015, installation view during the lauch of the publication Le programme institutionnel, Arprim Centre d'essai en art imprimé, Montréal, 2016. Photo: © Les Sabines

Subscribe to the Newsletter

 Retrouvez nous sur Twitter !Retrouvez nous sur Facebook !Retrouvez nous sur Instagram !

Publications



Archives


Features



Shop



Auction


Information



Contact

esse arts + opinions

Postal address
C.P. 47549,
Comptoir Plateau Mont-Royal
Montréal (Québec) Canada
H2H 2S8

Office address
2025 rue Parthenais, bureau 321
Montréal (Québec)
Canada H2K 3T2

E. : revue@esse.ca
T. : 1 514-521-8597
F. : 1 514-521-8598