PASCAL GRANDMAISON :
SPIN + DAYLIGHT
From November 15, 2002 to January 19, 2003.
Opening November 15 at 5:00 pm.
exhibition views | biography
by nelson henricks
In a society of excess, it is tempting to think of pictures
as abundant and valueless; blank and immaterial. Pascal
Grandmaison‘s work sheds light on the codes that lend
images their authority. One point of entry into SPIN
and DAYLIGHT is through the work of Andy Warhol,
an artist who is strangely in tune with us here in the
Blankness was the essence of Warhol‘s work. Warholian blankness is intriguing because it makes us search for meaning where we wouldn‘t normally. ”What is interesting about Warhol is not the retinal image of the man who paints 50 soup cans, but the man who has the idea to paint 50 soup cans.”(Duchamp) Meaning is no longer a mysterious code to be coaxed from the art object, but a game we play when situating art inside broader social contexts. Warhol‘s paintings and films are not about self-expression; they depict a world outside the self.
Grandmaison‘s work can be best understood from this perspective. His images acquire meaning once inserted into the broader context of cultural codes. In the video projection, we see a series of downward pans: extreme close-ups of people‘s faces. The subjects exude no emotion. Recalling Warhol‘s “Screen Tests,” they remain literally and figuratively blank. What animates them are cinematic conventions. The wide-screen ratio monumentalizes their image; the vibrating image makes the figures tremble with dramatic anxiety. Grandmaison‘s work is about the frames that invest images with their power, rather than the meanings inherent in them.
The importance of context (rather than content) also insinuates itself in the photographic component of this exhibition. Two fluorescent light tubes, propped in a corner against a rough photo backdrop, are illuminated by the light of day. Empty lights that are nonetheless illuminated; light as both subject and object. The image replies to conceptual artists such as Joseph Kosuth and Dan Flavin, extending an interrogation of the relationship between signs and meaning; form and function. But light has long been a subject in painting as well. Grandmaison‘s invocation of artists such as Zurbarán or Georges de La Tour lends a paradoxically sublime and mystical aura to an otherwise blank, mass-produced object.
Grandmaison is interested in value and in looking. What
lends images their weight? From where do they derive their
meaning? Through an open-ended exploration of representational
conventions, Grandmaison deftly avoids closure and fixity.
In this spirit, I hope this text only partially illumates
some of SPIN and DAYLIGHT‘s many mysteries.
Biographical Notice Pascal Grandmaison lives and works in Montreal. Using our contemporary way of life as a context, Grandmaison in his art practice investigates the themes of solitude, urban organization, and visual culture. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Galerie BF15 in Lyon, at the 6th Vidéogramme in Marseille, and at Galerie Clark in Montreal. He has also participated in group exhibitions at the Forest City Gallery in Ontario, the Musée du Québec, the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, and the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris. Since 2000, his videos have been presented at a number of festivals and biennales, including the VIPER International Festival for Film Video and Media in Bâle, the 9th biennale of the image in motion at the Centre pour l'image contemporaine in Geneva, the Lux Pandæmonium: Biennial of Moving Images in London, Transmediale: International Media Art Festival in Berlin, the Tranz Tech 2001 Video Art Biennial en Ontario, and the 29th and 30th Festival du nouveau cinéma et des nouveaux médias de Montréal.