Never have I had to restrain myself more from touching an artwork than during my visit of Moonwalk, the latest exhibition presented at Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, which features the mesmerizing artworks by local multidisciplinary artist Jonathan Plante. I was intrigued by the artwork’s surface because I couldn’t quite make sense of it: it seemed to move as though it was reverberating light. My first instinct in a situation like this is to touch to understand (which is always frustrating)! Though I didn’t. Instead, reading the artist’s statement, I discovered that the surface in question is lenticular plastic.
This unique material is a transparent sheet of plastic, embossed on one side with rows of convex ridges which form a lens. The opposite side of the sheet is flat. The moving image that the viewer sees is created by interlacing a sequence of frames. In other words, each frame is cut into stripes the width of a convex row and glued to the plastic; the moving viewer sees the resulting sequence of images creating the impression of motion. For more about lenticular printing, visit this page.
The idea of sequence is one that the artist has been working with throughout his artistic career. Plante researches the multiple stages of life of an artwork, from conception to documentation, and his work also explores the transformation of an artwork, as well as the concept of repetition. All these strands of though come together in his lenticular prints. Moving around the gallery space, every picture moves in response to the viewer’s position in the space. This interaction between the viewer and the artworks creates a dialogue, connecting the viewer and the piece in a very tangible way. The pieces create a sort of performance for each viewer based on the path the viewer takes within the gallery.
Themes such as Greek mythology, motion, and passing time are predominant in this exhibition. Indeed, we encounter the figures of Narcisse (2013) or Sisyphe (2013) and the works Temps de passage (2012) and Temps d’exposition (2013) clearly evoke time passing. Temps de passage is an animated video which underlines the ideas of motion and sequence, and references the lenticular prints through the use of transparent tape. Like all the other pieces in this show, Temps de passage is created with many stills placed into a specific sequence in order to give the impression of movement. Plante’s work starts with still frames which, assembled in a specific way, become kinetic images through the presence and motion of the viewer.
Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, space 308
January 11 – February 15, 2014