71 - Hiver 2011

Ever since artists have sought to bring art and everyday life closer together and turned the “mundane” into an important material of their practice, collecting — a part of many people’s activities — has frequently been transformed into an artistic gesture. The collection of worthless objects, of diverse traces, or even concepts, has become the raw material of numerous artistic productions in which the observation and dissection of the real, inventorying and archiving play a dominant role. This issue can be seen as a cabinet of curiosities where one will discover the traces and archives of practices bordering at times on the obsessive.


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Articles à la pièce

Vanessa Morisset
Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre
Dominique Abensour
Lilian Froger
Serge Murphy
Nicolas Thély

Collections, Inventories and Other Obsessions


The World as Representations:
Collecting and Collating Images
Contemporary artists’ keen interest for collecting and collating images has recently given rise to a number of exhibitions and events, reflecting as it does the widely received idea that we live in a world of images. Today, the shortest road to the heart of the world is through its representations. It would be an injustice to the artists’ work, however, to dwell on this generality without examining specific leanings it encompasses. For some artists gather images to better understand the real, while others consider the images realities in their own right. Cited artists include Walid Raad, Mathieu Pernot, documentation céline duval, la trocambulante, Roy Arden, Ludovic Burel.

The Act of Collecting:
A Symptom of Anxiety?
The works Collection de trophées (2009), Les petites annonces (2008) and Téléthons de la grande surface (2009) by Marc-Antoine K. Phaneuf deal with the current obsession that makes appearances our main preoccupation. This obsession derives from the process of self-fashioning, the type of relationship we maintain with our objects—of which the act of collecting is one declination—and, most especially, the symbolic value we lend to them, all of which are called on to play an important role. Disconcerting, these works situate themselves within the tradition of the ready-made, and provoke an ambiguous feeling: is the viewer the butt of the joke?

Collecting, the Collection, and the Collector
Since 1996, Raphaëlle de Groot has been involved in experimentation and research projects with a marked interest in the traces left by actions and gestures occurring outside of the field of art. Collecting and cataloguing are among her strategies. The works examined in this text display an ethnographic approach to collecting. Run through by a performative practice, the artist’s collections are also an apparatus for questioning the systems that govern our ways of being and acting.

Faces, Countless Faces
Since the 1970s, some Japanese photographers have reconsidered the book form while presenting vast collections of portraits or self-portraits. Far from wanting to express the singularity of their photographic subjects, these artists sought in fact to create homogeneous arrays of images, adopting repetitive forms of page layout to heighten the serial nature of the images. The book, with its succession of pages, constitutes a particularly well-adapted medium for presenting the seemingly interchangeable faces.

Archiving the Other as Oneself: Sylvie Cotton
In this article about Cotton, Serge Murphy shows how the artist’s work is developed and partakes in the field of collection, archiving and inventory keeping. He also shows that the work’s main stakes are determined by a deep commitment to otherness.

Accessories, Yet Indispensable
In the web and digital revolution era, collections and inventories presuppose the production of a matter essentially made up of photographs and videos which must be captured and catalogued. Drawing from the thesis of the philosopher Pierre-Damien Huyghe—according to which lived experience no longer exists without a recording—this article explores its aesthetic consequences: how to define the operative practices and feelings when their only sensible pillar appears to be that of the collection and inventory? How is one to respond to the recording capacity of machines?

Francis Alÿs
Dean Baldwin
Rebecca Duclos & David K. Ross
Josée Pedneault


Ce qui vient, la 2e biennale de Rennes
Intitulée Ce qui vient, la deuxième biennale de Rennes avait pour champ d’intérêt le futur. Pour que cette thématique remette en question notre rapport au monde à venir, la commissaire Raphaële Jeune a rassemblé des œuvres d’artistes susceptibles d’alimenter divers scénarios possibles. Ceux de nos peurs et de notre impuissance comme ceux de nos envies de modifier ce qui est. Ainsi, au-delà de certaines appréhensions, l’exposition suggère l’idée d’une responsabilité nouvelle par rapport à ce qui vient. Mais, devant la question « que faire ? », il faut aussi se révolutionner soi-même et être en mesure d’accepter l’imprévisible. Or, ce travail sur soi exige une réception des œuvres qui demande du temps et dont chaque spectateur est responsable.

From De Pierneef to Gugulective:
Or Examining the Art (World) in South Africa
From April 15 to October 3, 2010, the Iziko South African National Gallery, in Cape Town, presented a retrospective titled 1910-2010: From Pierneef to Gugulective. Reviewing the exhibition’s critical reception, I broach the racist power relationships that have shaped the visual arts scene in South Africa along with the strategies Riason Naidoo has employed, as the new director of the ISANG, to free the establishment from the strictures of its colonial heritage.

Ramassis couci-couça

Montréal | Optica by Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre

Bordeaux | CAPC Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, by Stéphanie Dauget

Toronto | Jessica Bradley Art + Projects, by Gabrielle Moser

Toronto | Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, by Gabrielle Moser

Paris | Galerie Michel Rein, by Nathalie Desmet

Paris | Centre Culturel Canadien, by Katrie Chagnon

Vancouver | Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, by Sarah Ciurysek

Vancouver | Public Art Program, City of Vancouver, by Kathleen Ritter

Publication | Daniel Olson. Beside Myself / Hors de moi, EXPRESSION, Centre d'exposition de Saint-Hyacinthe by Manon Tourigny

Publication | Angela Grauerholz. The Inexahustible Image… épuiser l’image, Musée canadien de la photographie contemporaine by Marie-Ève Charron

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