Opening: 𝑀𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡/𝐿'𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑏𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑒́ de Geneviève Chevalier
November 22, 2023, to January 20, 2024
Opening November 22 at 5 PM
Artist: Geneviève Chevalier
Curator: Marie-Hélène Leblanc
Exhibition produced as part of the CIÉCO Research and Inquiry Group’s Partnership 𝑁𝑒𝑤 𝑈𝑠𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝐶𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝐴𝑟𝑡 𝑀𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑢𝑚𝑠, with the support of the Team Art and museum.
The term towering used in navigation is defined as the refractory optical effect that makes distant objects look taller than they are.
𝑇𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔/𝐼𝑛𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑏𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑦, presented at Galerie UQO as the third and final iteration of 𝑀𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡/𝑇𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔, is the result of research that Chevalier conducted on the south coast of England and in London during a residency at ACME Studio in summer 2022. In this project, she seeks to establish a conceptual and formal relationship between instances of geological and economic erosion that, though distinct in nature, are closely linked.
𝑇𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔/𝐼𝑛𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑏𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑦 holds up a kind of mirror to the concept developed in Towering/The Menagerie (2021); through video, photography, and text, it juxtaposes the phenomenon of erosion of the Jurassic Coast with that of economic instability. Both contingencies are based on a false premise: the notion of ever available and unlimited resources. Through the works presented in the exhibition, Chevalier proposes a relationship (and, by extension, a confrontation) between two spaces that share a single instability.
Chevalier brings to light the Jurassic Coast, a coastal zone in southern England composed of alternating layers of clay and limestone – commonly called 𝐵𝑙𝑢𝑒 𝐿𝑖𝑎𝑠 – near Lyme Regis, Dorset, and the chalk cliffs at Seaton (Beer Head), Devon. In the course of their history, these fossil-rich cliffs have undergone various major episodes of erosion and are now, with rising water and increasing numbers of extreme weather events, becoming more and more unstable. In some works, Chevalier also turns to Canary Wharf in London. Canary Wharf is a city within a city, built in the late 1980s by the Canadian financier Paul Reichmann under the Thatcher government on the former site of docks of the West India Company (a colonial-era enterprise involved in the triangular trade). This nucleus of international finance is examined through its glass-and-metal architecture and the exhaustive list of tenants of the Canary Wharf Group (publicly traded since 1999), which include the head offices of major banks and investment funds sitting cheek by jowl.
At the intersection of these two unstable places, certain “exotic” species seem also to be witnesses to a crumbling world. They appear through the dynamics of proliferation or make a comeback as ornamental plants. These plant species, with a silent presence and characteristic silhouette, are also found in 𝑇𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔/𝐼𝑛𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑏𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑦.
Geneviève Chevalier is a visual and media artist, independent curator, and professor at Laval University’s School of Visual Arts. Her postdoctoral fellowship (FRQSC 2014-2016) in museum studies focused on artists’ interventions in museum collections, and was completed as part of the research group Collections et impératif événementiel (CIÉ/CO). Chevalier has contributed essays to collective works such as 𝑅𝑒́𝑖𝑛𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑙𝑎 𝑐𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛. 𝐿’𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑒𝑡 𝑙𝑒 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑒́𝑒 𝑎𝑢 𝑡𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑠 𝑑𝑒 𝑙’𝑒́𝑣𝑒́𝑛𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑒𝑙 (2023, PUQ), and 𝐿𝑖𝑒𝑢𝑥 𝑒𝑡 𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑢𝑥 𝑑𝑒 𝑙’𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑣𝑖𝑣𝑎𝑛𝑡. 𝑃𝑒𝑟𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑒𝑟 𝑙’𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑡𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 (2023, Presses du réel). In 2023, a monograph on her work was co-published by Dazibao, the Foreman Art Gallery, and Galerie UQO.
Chevalier’s art practice includes video and film projections, and photographic series in which she examines issues around biodiversity loss in the era of the climate crisis through natural history (FRQSC 2020-2023). Her work questions our inheritance of modernity’s concept of the living world: one that is decontextualized, simplified, and exploitable. In 2024, she will be the artist-in-residence at the Jardins de Métis as part of the project 𝐹𝑎𝑢𝑥-𝑝𝑙𝑖𝑠 (FRQ).
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