Mésures de Silence at Galerie Roger Bellemare | Galerie Christian Lambert

Joseph Beuys "Das Schweigen" at Roger Bellemare | Christian Lambert
Joseph Beuys "Das Schweigen" at Roger Bellemare | Christian Lambert

Roger Bellemare and Christian Lambert are presenting another star-studded exhibition: Mésures de Silence features artworks by A-list artists such as Joseph Beuys, John Cage, Josef Albers, and Betty Goodwin.
The works on display run the gamut from minimalist works (Galerie Bellemare’s forté), over small sculptures and objects, to representational paintings. What holds everything together is the recurring motif of sound and silence.

Joseph Beuys’ piece Das Schweigen (The Silence) from 1973 consists of a stack of five 35mm film reels and the original studded cardboard box of Ingmar Bergman’s 1962 motion picture of the same name. Bergman’s The Silence, a box-office hit in 1963 Germany, is a bleak drama about the emotionally bankrupt relationship of two sisters. Drawing on the movie’s stark black-and-white aesthetic and its theme of phsycological suffocation, Beuys has lacquered the film reels and plated them in copper and zinc baths, effectively making the films ‘blind,’ – an elegant analogue of Bergman’s theme of withered communication.

The American composer John Cage features twice in the Mésures de Silence exhibition – once as the subject of an artwork, and once as a visual artist himself. James Sterling-Pitt‘s art object titled John Cage is what I would call a non-book. Sterling-Pitt wrapped a piece of cardboard around a narrow slab of wood, creating a simile of John Cage’s book of lectures and writings by the same title. Beautifully non-functional, the ‘book’ cover is hand drawn. In swirly script it reads “John Cage,” and right underneath in bold capital letters SILENCE. Similar to Beuys, Sterling-Pitt re-purposes another artist’s œuvre to both amplify their own point, as well as the other artist’s.

John Cage’s own artwork on display is a delicate, understated drawing of pencil on paper titled Where R=Royanji (4R)/14. Cage placed small rocks on the paper and then traced around their contours. What is left is not the hefty impression of the stone, but a gravity-defying series of overlapping loops, some smooth, some drawn as through with a trembling hand. It is a beautiful exercise of touch and sound, of presence and absence.

All in all the works of over twenty artists are on show in this exhibition, more than I can possibly give a shout-out to in this review. But I would like to highlight Marcel Lemyre‘s wonderfully dramatic, tiny cloud paintings titled Sans titre (3 elements), and Marco Fusinato‘s Mass Black Implosion, a copy of a musical score where all musical notes are sucked into a singular point, leaving a spray of radiating black lines.

This is a must-see exhibition, intelligently curated, and a delight to explore. Make sure to catch it before it closes on April 7, 2012.

Galerie Roger Bellemare, Galerie Christian Lambert, spaces 501 and 502
Group exhibition
Mésures de Silence
March 3 – April 7, 2012

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