Espacements [Spacings] by Marie-Michelle Deschamps
With Espacements [Spacings] Marie-Michelle Deschamps reveals three aspects of her practice as it unfolds throughout the exhibition, where the centre is formally turned into a theatre of domestic intimacy: with the hallway running along the exhibition spaces as though they were the rooms of a home. Very gently, the spatial personifications come across as metaphors defining the relationship of the artist in the eyes of oneself [soi], the other [l’autre] and the other arising from oneself [l’autre venant de soi].
This meta-discursive approach to space is complemented by linguistic structures, a notion that is also prevalent in Deschamps' work. In her book The Twofold Room, the artist imagines a tight interdependency relation between language and a hotel. The artist poetically describes the elements of the place — the entrance hall, corridor, bedroom, bed —, their interaction with the body — intimate, sensual — and links them to language through metaphorical puns and figures of speech, interweaving the concrete with the abstract. In the centre's first exhibition room, the bas-reliefs titled Coquilles revisit the principle of a troubled osmosis between signifier and signified. In making the works directly on the wall with joint compound mixed with marble powder, Deschamps takes a material usually used for masking and transforms it into ornamentation. The material, added to the wall layer by layer — to correct the typo [coquille]? —, is like a protective shell [coquille], a space in which to hide and look inward.
This is followed by the encounter with the other, where individual interiority opens up and gives way to collaboration and friendship, giving rise to the musical installation Première adresse, conceived by the artist for – and with – her percussionist friend Corinne René. While one uses metal to work the material, the other is interested in the element’s musical properties. The two artists thus share a desire to create musical objects that are aesthetically pleasing to both ear and eye.
At the margin of soi [self] and l’autre [other], there remains l’autre venant de soi [the other arising from oneself], a sensible tension between introspection and sharing in the sense of longevity. In the third gallery, Deschamps depicts the bond she has with her child, the impact motherhood has had on her practice, and the traces it has left. Once again, the artist inverts the preconceived notion of inheritance: by reproducing her child's drawings, she takes the place of the pupil, giving her son the opportunity to mark her work, to alter her practice, and via the medium of cloisonné enamel, to engrave this relationship's precise moment in time.
What makes Deschamps' work so interesting is that nothing is left to chance. From the choice of material to the formal meaning of the exhibition in its display space, the interweaving of each element is carefully considered, revealing semantic layers that invite us to gauge the full breadth of her work. The useless becomes treasure, the marginal becomes refuge, matter becomes time.
— Lucile Godet
Through sculpture, writing, drawing, sound and installations, Marie-Michelle Deschamps’ work focuses on language as an inhabitable space, a veritable structure and place where forms reside. Her practice is rooted within conversation, collaboration and translation, underscoring the transformative place of language within the formal dialect of architecture.
Recently, Deschamps’ work has been exhibited at the Gund Gallery (US), Shebam (DE),ICA Portland, Maine (US); The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (CA) at Franz Kaka (Toronto, CA); Oakville Galleries (Oakville, CA). She has also exhibited at Parisian Laundry (Montreal, CA); Diagonale (Montreal, CA) the Ausstellungsraum Klingental (Basel, CH); Chapter (Cardif, UK) the Darling Foundry (Montreal, CA); the MUDAM (Luxembourg, LU); CCA (Glasgow, UK); Occidental Temporary (Paris, FR); CNAC Le Magasin (Grenoble, FR); YYZ Artist’s Outlet (Toronto, CA) and at Collective as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival (UK). She was an artist in residence at Studio Voltaire (Lon- don, UK) and Triangle France (Marseille, FR) and holds a MFA from the Glasgow School of Art (UK).
Corinne René is a percussionist who has distinguished herself in a variety of artistic circles. Trained as a classical musician, she plays regularly with Quebec orchestras, principally the Orchestre Métropolitain. At the same time, her practice brings her closer to the worlds of improvisation, noise, movement and the visual arts. She works in collaboration with visual artist Marie-Michelle Deschamps, video artist Etienne Morneau, the groups Loos Pango, Ensemble SuperMusique, Buzz Cuivres and Toiture. She has taken part in advanced training courses at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique de Lyon, The Banff Centre for the Arts, the Centre Chorégraphique National de Rillieux-la-Pape, and Hotel Pupik in Austria.
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