Canadian Art - - Spotlight -

Ne­go­ti­a­tions of artis­tic li­cense are at the core of Mon­treal artist So­phie Bélair Clément’s di­a­logic prac­tice. Trans­po­si­tion and trans­fer­ral are re­cur­ring mo­tifs across me­dia—from hav­ing an orches­tra tune its in­stru­ments in har­mony with the hum of a Dan Flavin flu­o­res­cent work to invit­ing fel­low artists to par­tic­i­pate in her own solo ex­hi­bi­tions. Bélair Clément’s re­cent ex­hi­bi­tions, in­clud­ing shows at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery and Ga­lerie des arts vi­suels Univer­sité Laval, have taken the form of col­lab­o­ra­tive projects in which she ex­tends in­vi­ta­tions to an in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary group of con­trib­u­tors. “These in­vi­ta­tions are be­com­ing a big part of my work,” she ex­plains. “I never use the term cu­ra­to­rial to de­scribe my ac­tiv­i­ties—i don’t pro­duce in­ter­pre­ta­tion—but as an artist I like us­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion as a place of di­a­logue.” In a sim­i­lar mode of col­lo­quy, Bélair Clément’s un­ti­tled ex­hi­bi­tion at Van­cou­ver’s Western Front ex­am­ined the his­tory and ar­chives of the gallery, fo­cus­ing on a 1973 video record­ing of early mem­bers de­scrib­ing its ori­gin. She sep­a­rately recorded six early mem­bers’ rec­ol­lec­tions of these events, pre­sented along­side the orig­i­nal film on five mon­i­tors. “To jux­ta­pose all those voices re­veals the fic­tion of the col­lec­tive space—ev­ery­one is talk­ing about the same events, but there’s no con­sen­sus. I think the same thing is hap­pen­ing in the col­lec­tive shows I cre­ate. I’m not cre­at­ing a com­mu­nity that agrees, but I’m still in­ter­ested in putting them in con­ver­sa­tion.”

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