The great thing about the Belgo Building is how you can walk around with no particular aim and always find food for thought, pleasant esthetics, or creative oddities that spring your imagination into action. The exhibition Borderline/Borderline at the Donald Browne Gallery holds many treasures, some more obvious then others. For me to enter a gallery there must be something to catch my eye and draw me in, here it was the photography by Olivier Gariépy. Jumelles Pilon, 2011 has appeared on the Belgo Report’s Friday’s Favorite Four by Bettina Forget and Transgression, 2013. The latter is a photography of the sky where a distant plane and a rainbow are captured in the same frame. The picture is minimalist with only these two elements but open a larger issue about humanity and nature such as the consequences of our industrial culture on nature, to mention only one.
The work by Valérie Kolakis Untitled (Glass Sheets) 2013, on the other hand is one of the less obvious treasures. It is composed of a group of window glass sheets simply leaning on the wall near the entrance. I walked by the piece thinking nothing of it exempt maybe that it was a little weird to have the glass there. This type of work fits in Marcel Duchamps’ ready-made theory: giving a name to an everyday object and placing it in a gallery makes it a work of art. Or does it? That is Duchamps’ question now isn’t it? In addition one of the sheets still had a sticker on it from its previous use “Tous les objects de valeur de cette propriété portent un code gravé. Ils sont identifiables.” This simple security warning put out of place reflects on the worth art as well as challenges the mainstream definition of a work of art.
The third and last piece I wish to spend some time with is the one that truly caught my attention: Sara A. Tremblay‘s In and Out, 2012. The large sheets of paper 5″ by 5″ covered in charcoal (which I will describe in a moment) are in fact the result of a performance that can last up to five hours. The first performance was conducted in 2012 by Tremblay and is represented by the first piece: a large paper covered in circular charcoal tracks going from the out skirts of the paper to the center where the traces of the performer’s feet can be discerned. Indeed the performance follows the same instruction each time: the artist is placed at the center of the paper armed with charcoal and works on covering the entire sheet from the borders to the center. At the end of the performance the charcoal powder is gathered into a glass container and is added to the presentation as a token of the effort put into the work. Today, the performances are done by the assistant curator Charlotte Rousseau. By changing performer, the performance-piece takes on a life of its own, past its creator, it grows and moves on by itself in the world.
This exhibition has offered a truly fun and complete experience of a gallery space. Opening dialogue on contemporary issues, challenging the definition of art as well as offering at least one new way of perceiving art through an evolving performance. For restriction of space I have made a choice in the number of artists discussed, however many more treasures await you at the Borderline/Borderline exhibition, open until August 31st when the last performance of Sara. A Tremblay’s In and Out will take place.
Donald Browne Gallery, space 528
Valérie Kolakis, Sara A. Tremblay, Olivier Gariépy, Jérôme Havre, Marius Lut, Jérôme Ruby
June 20 – August 31, 2013