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Thomas Corriveau
From September 6th 1986 to September 27th 1986
Prénoms

In art, the dismemberment of deformation of a body may be the result of an act of love, however, the dismembering act may also conceal other and stranger motives. Often as not, if a history of the divided up bodily figure in art were be done, depicting the trend towards cutting up anatomies and rearranging selected limbs into often monstrous (sometimes “improved”) forms, it would certainly reveal that, in some instances, these expression stem from rather murky feelings.

The quest for the ideal body, because it presupposes the need for established rules, also participates in the dismemberment of the body. Through this quest the fantasized body becomes a sum of strange parts, a mixture of delirium, excessive reason and wilful need to keep the “other” at a distance. This holding at a distance, where both quest and rejection blend together, is not necessarily synonymous of contempt, though no doubt this sentiment is frequently present. Art is quite familiar and has long subscribed to the quest for the ideal body. This pursuit has now, however, been taken over by advertising.

The recent collages of Thomas Corriveau are constructed from pictures that he cuts out of fashion magazines. From these pictures, Corriveau selects only certain parts of the body, which he then cuts to fit the requirements of the image he is fabricating. Of the original bodies – which had already been fabricated through carefully studied lighting, perspective and make-up – there will finally only subsist some limbs or parts of limbs and anatomy: faces, legs, fingers, lips, etc. Corriveau then works out, arranges and orders together the whole, with the help of paint and along certain structural, mostly anamorphic principles.

What results is a surface that, at first glance, is rather disconcerting (shocking?); a surface that the unaccustomed eye perceives, in the best circumstances, as a grotesque representation and, in the worst, as veritable slaughter. However, gradually, the observer will see an image form, most often a face also inspired by the fashion picture. Hence, the initial illusion (to make believe) is contradicted. For how is it possible to believe (and what is there to believe) when the recognition of the mechanism of illusion accompanies or even precedes the emergence of the image itself? The perception of this new image requires time and also that the body adopts a particular point of view. The relationship imposed is therefore uncomfortable and difficult. Though the features seem to follow advertising norms, the faces never really seem to conform; and the mechanism, once identified, reappears continuously. It therefore becomes impossible not to be aware of the artist’s manipulations whether in the glued pieces of paper or the dabs of paint. Nothing can be taken for granted in this new image; an image that otherwise, on the page of a magazine, would have revealed itself to be rather pleasant and unproblematic.
- Pierre Landry (translated by Daniel Fitzgerald)
- Press release (Optica)

Bibliographie
Daigneault, Gilles, « Les regards obliques de Thomas Corriveau », Le Devoir, samedi 13 septembre 1986, p. D-10.
Lepage, Jocelyne, « Corriveau, Bougie et Roy, jamais deux sans trois », La Presse, samedi 20 septembre 1986, p. F-1.
Lupien, Jocelyne, « Thomas Corriveau, Optica », Parachute, déc.-jan.-fév. 1986-1987, # 45, p. 27-28.
Payant, René, « Leçon d'Anamorphose », Spirale, #65, nov. 86, p. 16.
Vie Des Arts, décembre 1986, # 125, p. 42.