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© Marjolaine Bourdua, Sans titre (Les béatitudes), 2012. Sculpture murale, pâte polymère, armature de métal | Wall sculpture, polymer clay, metal frame. 48 x 42 x 6 cm. Avec l'aimable permission de l’artiste | Courtesy of the artist. Photo : David Jacques.

Marjolaine Bourdua
From January 19th 2013 to February 23rd 2013

Marjolaine Bourdua’s work centres on the medium of sound, which she combines with her production of environments, sculptures, and drawings. Emerging from this is a universe constructed from a repertoire of cultural references and pop culture; sculpted or drawn, the forms are never wholly articulated. Through variations on a common motif in entertainment—the stage—her works come into play by means of breakages and simulacra. They place us in situations of expectation, with no indication of a timeframe, of even whether the performance has ended or is about to start. While Bourdua had dealt separately with sound and formal materiality in her prior work, her current practice is focused on their fusion within a single sculpture.

In La société du spectacle, Guy Debord describes the fetishism of commodities and its spectacular display as symptomatic of the capitalist influence on daily life. The simple, summary nature of Bourdua’s work, replete with references to empty theatrical space, seems to echo this political thought by proposing an anti-spectacular event on the fringes of the market and mass consumption. Reinforcing this proposition is the absence of spectacle and the intentional banality and scantness of the decor, creating a state of latency that characterizes much of the artist’s production. Kept at a distance, a scene invites spectators to fill the vacuum according to their own interpretations and cultural references.

As for the looped soundtrack, it establishes a complex dialogue with the physical components of the sculpture. Mixing various phonographic source—sound samples, vocal explorations, melodic tunes—the sounds, interrupted as soon as they are triggered, help create a referential and perceptual system at once incomplete and constantly contradicted. While consumer society relies on the stimulation and construction of desires for possession, Bourdua invites us to reflect on the metaphorical import of an object emitting a singular language diametrically opposed to the superficiality of the said “society of the spectacle.”

Julie Alary Lavallée

The artist thanks the Canada Council for the Arts and Raphaël Huppé-Alvarez.

Come meet Marjolaine Bourdua, Saturday, February 23rd at 2 pm!

Marjolaine Bourdua's sound sculpture, presented at OPTICA from January 19 to February 23, is the focus of a short article by Karine Bouchard, L'inquiétante étrangeté d'une présence sonore (Webzine, Vie des arts, Wednesday, February 20 2013).

Born in 1983, Marjorlaine Bourdua holds a BFA in visual and media arts from Université du Québec à Montréal (2007) and a master degree in visual arts from Villa Arson, France (2008). She has curated shows and taken part in several exhibitions, both here and abroad: Galerie Frédéric Giroux (Paris), Centre d’art et diffusion Clark, Circa, Galerie Verticale, Sporobole, and the Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides. This is her first solo exhibition in Montreal. The recipient of a grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (2011) and of project funding from the Canada Council for the Arts (2012), she lives and works in Montreal.