Currently on view at Centre d’exposition Circa is Montreal-based artist Louise Viger‘s installation From Flesh to Continent: a pietá. The work in fact is a result of a collaboration that draws together three disciplines and three new works: the sculpture of Viger, the music of Eric Champagne, and the poetry and voice of Denise Desautels.
The spacious light-filled gallery, occupying the corner of the building, serves this sensuous work beautifully. In the centre of the room stands a triad of white plinths, cloaked in a massive lattice-textured white blanket over 60 metres long. You sit on the small bench near the window and regard the trio, three separate figures that are nonetheless connected by this strange membrane. You might think of mystery, of mourning and of death: indeed, Pieta refers to a subject in Christian art where the Virgin is depicted cradling the dead Jesus, most often in sculpture.
A small distance away, a low, white, oval-shaped table-like object–imagine a cast mould of a single level of the New York Guggenheim’s atrium–surrounded by white shavings of a sort in perfect formation, as though shaped by magnetic forces. The voice of Desautels and the music of Champagne also shape the space in a way, invisibly. The sound emanates from somewhere near the pieta, at once the centre of the work and the heart of absence.
One is drawn into the mood and becomes attentive to the various registers on which time is being marked, or is marking itself. The alternating segments of voice and music, like chapters in a mysterious book, suspend your own thoughts and draw you along with them. You might reflect, though, of the time it took Viger to “draw” the blanket with melted thermofusible glue (5000 sticks of glue at 25cm long each). The repetition is inscribed into the very matter of the “lace,” suggesting a slow, meditative state.
This work continues Viger’s aesthetic investigations of the varying physical states of materials: the melted glue becomes solid, albeit flexible, matter; the blanket is at once a mass without volume; it is given volume, however, by the figures it is draped over. But it is also not just about concrete, sensible experience: it seems to suggest an attempt to make what it intuitive, past, and personal into something that occupies space and time.
I recommend this poetic sojourn to anyone finding themselves in a reflective mood before October 13, the last day of the exhibition.
Centre d’Exposition Circa, space 444
The States Between
September 8 – October 13, 2012