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Serge Murphy
From May 9th 2009 to June 13th 2009
Rien de tout cela (version 2009)

The relationship between sculpture and the monument takes a festive turn with Serge Murphy. All Murphy’s recent production might well be summed up as “work in progress.” His is a body of work that eschews the commercialization so prevalent in the art world. Rien de tout cela (2009 version) introduces the idea of an autonomous, recurring series that varies with each iteration. He brings his own approach into the spotlight here, and with it, the act of collecting. The work evolves considerably from one presentation to the next, materials and objects constantly appear and disappear. Following its own inner logic, the installation, which contains another, gains in richness and complexity over time, and the time and place of each presentation generates a unique constellation of emotion.

Found and reused objects and unfinished materials—veil, cross, drawings, photos, bits of wool and string—compose a repertoire of playful forms and references to art history, painting, the land, and popular imagination. The gallery installation is comprised of several constructions of painted wood erected like towers and balanced atop one another. As in the first version, presented at the Manif d’art du Québec, each of the constructions—a tabletop, a crate—contains one or more elements. In the second version, the space is subdivided into a grid; our gaze travels along the proffered perforations and points of view, the areas and masses. Murphy indulges in a lengthy and meticulous reconstruction, modelling the exhibition space’s voids and volumes. The unity of the piece, as precarious as it may be, rests on the profusion of objects, abstract forms, water colours, moulds, and other of the artist’s productions, here assembled into an immense collage.

The impression of being faced with pandemonium quickly gives way to a sense of organization, where each of the artist’s gestures becomes meaningful in a distribution of shapes and lines that only exist in and through this particular space.
-Marie-Josée Lafortune


This exhibition is part of the Montreal Off-Biennal 2009.

OFF BNL MTL


Serge Murphy lives and works in Montreal. He produces installational sculpture, drawings, and narrative video (the latter in collaboration with Charles Guilbert). His work has been presented in Quebec, Canada, the United States, Europe, and South America. In 2007, he won the Ozias-Leduc lifetime achievement award.