Closing Soon: La revanche des Sans-culottes

Cynthia Girard-Renard
La revanche des Sans-culottes
Galerie Hugues Charbonneau
February 27, 2016 – April 2, 2016

It’s the last week to see La revanche des Sans-culottes at Galerie Hugues Charbonneau before the bubblegum-pink curtain closes on the spectacle of 21st century art created in response to France in the time of Marie-Antoinette and of May 1968.

In 2015, Montréal artist Cynthia Girard-Renard participated in a Paris residency through the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ). La revanche des Sans-culottes is an expansion of the body of work she created during the residency. Girard-Renard offers a contemporary viewpoint on the French Revolution, combining romantic, stereotypical North American perceptions of the nation with the realities of history.

The markers of global capitalism borne out of France (just the names of Rolex, Chanel and Dior are enough) are presented as embedded in history. Puppets and posters provide the artist with the medium for wordplay: ‘Austerité eau de toilette’, ‘No.5 The Debt.’ There is also a juxtaposition in the childlike colors and surreal cartoon characters, and the messages of oppression and resistance that we know them to represent.

The exhibition derives its name from the derogatory slang used to distinguish the striped pants-wearing working-class protestors from the ‘culotte’-wearing bourgeoisie. Three pairs of papier mâché striped pants are suspended in the gallery space. Their bareness may be an eerie ode to the past, or it may be more future-thinking: a suggestion of their universality, that the role of the resistor is ready to be assumed at any moment and the figure who ‘wears the pants’ is in shift.

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