Ectoplasmic Studies

Sandra Huber
L’Écart, Rouyn-Noranda
April 13 — May 28, 2013
Wendt+Dufaux Ectoplasmic Studies, exhibition view, 2023.
Photo: Donald Trépanier, courtesy of the artists
L’Écart, Rouyn-Noranda
April 13 — May 28, 2013
[En anglais]

What happens when an excess of joy mixes with an excess of grief? We might get ectoplasm, itself an excessive substance wavering between fluid and material, death and life, traditionally secreted from the orifices of mediums during nineteenth-century spiritualism in North America and Europe. The artist duo Wendt+Dufaux (Sarah Wendt and Pascal Dufaux) has been exploring this ephemeral substance since 2021, most recently in the show Ectoplasmic Studies at Écart in Rouyn-Noranda. The term ectoplasm was coined in 1894, as medical science was exploring the uterus and the concept of “germs” in relation to the female body, contagion, and death — feared territories to be sure. Traditionally, it took myriad forms, such as clothing, larva, foam, goo, fully formed bodies, and collage-like emanations. Ectoplasmic Studies offers a similarly diverse material universe: broken glass, fabric swatches, daguerreotypes, video, circles and rings, hair, drawings, seeds, beads, bulbous forms, and leaky shadows.

An overarching theme of the exhibition is excess. This makes sense considering that Wendt+Dufaux’s practice as a duo overflows from their practices as discrete artists (Sarah, performance and dance; Pascal, sculpture) and creates a surfeit in the interstice where they come together — -dancing sculpture. The artists have been working together since 2016 and are symbiotic in the way that only both partners‑in-work and partners-in-life can be — each facet of their existence spills into the other. Similarly, ectoplasm is a substance that blurs the line between non-matter and matter — not only blurs, but spills past it altogether.

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