Transcending Materials and Perverting Objects: Art as Playing Field for BGL

  • BGL, Canadassimo, 2015 (detail, work in progress). Photo: © Ivan Binet, courtesy of BGL, Parisian Laundry, Montréal & Diaz Contemporary, Toronto
  • BGL, Canadassimo, 2015 (detail, work in progress). Photo: © Ivan Binet, courtesy of BGL, Parisian Laundry, Montréal & Diaz Contemporary, Toronto
  • BGL, Canadassimo, 2015 (detail, work in progress). Photo: © Ivan Binet, courtesy of BGL, Parisian Laundry, Montréal & Diaz Contemporary, Toronto
  • BGL, Canadassimo, 2015 (detail, work in progress). Photo: © Ivan Binet, courtesy of BGL, Parisian Laundry, Montréal & Diaz Contemporary, Toronto
  • BGL, Canadassimo, 2015 (detail, work in progress). Photo: © Ivan Binet, courtesy of BGL, Parisian Laundry, Montréal & Diaz Contemporary, Toronto
  • BGL, Canadassimo, 2015 (detail, work in progress). Photo: © Ivan Binet, courtesy of BGL, Parisian Laundry, Montréal & Diaz Contemporary, Toronto

Transcending Materials and Perverting Objects: Art as Playing Field for BGL

By Thierry Davila
 
Selected to represent Canada at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), the BGL collective—a designation formed of the initials of the three members’ last names (Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicolas Laverdière)—has been making provocative, disconcerting and materially demanding works since the mid 1990s. Their Italian project is based on a complete reconfiguration of the Canadian Pavilion, just as Gregor Schneider and Mike Nelson were able to do for the German Pavilion in 2001 and the British Pavilion in 2011 respectively, although taking totally different approaches. In an interview that intersects a closer reading (Marie Fraser) with a more general perspective (Thierry Davila) of their practice and their Venetian installation, Canadassimo, BGL offers some leads for better understanding this “playing field,” which they call the space in which art develops today.
 
Thierry Davila: You have chosen to work as a trio in a country where a significant number of artist collectives (Group of Seven, N.E. Thing Co., General Idea) have already made a lasting impression on history. In 2009, you in fact paid homage to the oldest one with Meatballs. Tribute to the Group of Seven. Have these predecessors influenced your work? How do you deal with this history?
 
BGL: No, not really. You know, our knowledge of art history is rather in its early stages. Besides the Group of Seven, we have also paid homage to Paul-Émile Borduas, who was the founder of the automatist movement in Québec and of the Refus global [Total Refusal], in Au service de l’impact (Hommage à Paul-Émile), 2012. These references to our pioneers are more like winks and nods than direct influences. They are somewhat like fish bait that we cast to titillate the experts.
 
T. D.: In concrete terms, how do the members of BGL work together? Is there a division of tasks? Does each member have an individual practice outside BGL?
 
Marie Fraser: The members of BGL have worked as a collective since they met at Laval University’s School of Visual Art in 1996, almost twenty years ago. None of them have pursued an individual practice. Having followed BGL’s work almost since the beginning and having been in regular contact with each member since they were chosen to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale, I realize that their working style is very organic. Nothing is predetermined, no one carries out a specific task, and, as there are three of them, they build their installations almost entirely themselves. Moreover, they often compare themselves to handymen or builders. Their work dynamic is very distinctive: the ideas circulate; they always remain in motion; they virtually never stop. The artists are almost always in the process of changing, removing or adding something. Even when a work is completed—that is to say, exhibited—reconfiguring the elements or transforming their relation to the space always remains possible.
 

 

Tags artistes: 

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