OTTAWA, Jan. 30, 2014 /CNW/ - The artists' collective BGL, composed of Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicolas Laverdière, will
represent Canada at the prestigious 56th International Art exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, in Italy in 2015. The selection was announced by the National Gallery of Canada on behalf of a jury of leading experts in
contemporary Canadian art. The Venice Biennale is among the most
prestigious contemporary art events in the world, and the only
international visual arts exhibition to which Canada sends official
representation. The Québécois artists' exhibition will be presented
from May 9 to November 22, 2015 in the Canada Pavilion.
Over the past decade, the artists' ambitious sculptures and mixed media
installations have increasingly garnered critical attention. Using
diverse materials, from wood, drywall and cardboard to readymade
consumer objects, the group takes a hands-on, artisanal approach. Their
artworks range in scale from stand-alone sculptures to large theatrical
settings that immerse viewers in unexpected environments. Intelligent
and witty, BGL's compelling installations transform the accessories of
everyday life into art.
"This is an exciting moment for BGL, who have recently come into their
own as an aesthetic force to be reckoned with," said Director and CEO
of the National Gallery of Canada, Marc Mayer. "I'm convinced that
international audiences will be as enthusiastic about their work as
Canadians have become."
A national selection committee
The national selection committee that chose BGL included Marie Fraser, Professor in the Department of Art History and the Museology program
at the Université du Québec à Montréal, and Chief Curator at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal from 2010 to 2013; Gerald McMaster, independent curator, artist, writer, researcher, former Curator of
Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and current Deputy
Assistant Director at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American
Indian, Washington, DC; Bruce Grenville, Senior Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery; Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Canada; and Marc Mayer, Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada.
Marie Fraser has been named the curator for next year's Venice project. She will be
working closely with the artists and the National Gallery.
BGL: immersing us in art
Working together since 1996 and based in Quebec City, BGL strives to
surprise spectators by immersing them in highly unlikely, yet not
altogether impossible situations. "We take genuine pleasure in breaking
out of the traditional framework in which art is experienced," says
BGL, "in order to bring the human being and art closer together and to
give the alert, unsettled spectator a physical and active experience."
One of the group's early installations, An Adult's Toy (2003), presented an upturned ATV riddled with arrows as if it were a
hunted animal. In the 2005 performance and video, Rapides et dangereux [Fast and Dangerous], the group, dressed as an Olympic luge team on
roller blades, pushed a decommissioned motorcycle through the hilly
streets of Quebec City. In 2008, Artistique Feeling II, a work presented at the National Gallery of Canada, dropped $20,000 in
bills from a raised skyjack onto the gallery floor.
Originality and cooperation
The selection committee made its decision following a rigorous selection
process. Upon awarding Venice honours to BGL, the jury highlighted the
artist group's proven abilities to work in-situ on imaginative projects
that have earned admiration throughout their home province and across
Canada. "BGL's installations and performances are obliquely political,
but are carried out with a humour that is characteristically Canadian,"
reported the committee.
The growing international interest in BGL's work was also noted by the
committee, as was the timeliness of selecting artists who work
collaboratively, given the rise in popularity of this type of activity
within the art world today. Collective production of artworks has had a
particularly strong history in Canadian art since the late 1960s.
More about BGL
For nearly twenty years, BGL has been exhibiting work in Canada and
around the world: at Musée d'art contemporain du Val-de-Marne, France,
in 2011-2012; UQAM's design centre in 2010; the Contemporary Art
Gallery in Vancouver in 2009; and the Centre culturel canadien in Paris
in 2008. They have also participated in several group exhibitions and
international biennials: Oh, Canada in MASS MoCA (U.S.) in 2012; Manoeuver/Maniobres at the Galerie Toni Tàpies, Barcelona, in 2009; Caught in the Act: The Viewer as Performer at the National Gallery of Canada in 2008-2009; C'est arrivé près de chez vous at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec in 2008; On Being an Exhibition at the Artists Space in New York in 2007; Sous les ponts... at Casino Luxembourg-Forum d'art contemporain, Luxembourg in 2005; the first edition of the Bienal del fin del mundo in Ushuaia, Argentina; Havana Biennial Art Exhibition in Cuba; Biennale
de Montréal; and Nuits Blanches in Calgary, Paris, and Toronto.
BGL was nominated for the Sobey Art Award in 2006 and has received
several grants from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and
the Canada Council for the Arts, as well as the Victor Martyn
Lynch-Staunton Award and the York Wilson Endowment Award. They won the
Ontario Association of Art Galleries' Best Exhibition Design and
Installation Award for their 2006 exhibition at Toronto's Mercer Union.
More recently, in the largest public artwork contest ever held in
Québec, BGL won for the Montréal-Nord neighbourhood. They were also
chosen to create an outdoor installation for the Pan Am/Parapan Am
Aquatics Centre in Toronto in 2014.
BGL's works are included in the collections of the National Gallery of
Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée national des
beaux-arts du Québec, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, and in
many private collections.
BGL is represented by Parisian Laundry in Montréal and Diaz Contemporary
Canada's participation in La Biennale di Venezia
Every two years, over 80 countries send official entries to La Biennale di Venezia. The 2013 edition of the Biennale featured the participation of 88
countries and attracted more than 475,000 visitors.
La Biennale di Venezia has for over 60 years presented the work of some of Canada's most
accomplished artists. The official Canadian participation at the
Biennale's 56th International Art Exhibition will be made possible by the generous
financial assistance of individual and corporate philanthropists from
across Canada and beyond.
About the curator
Marie Fraser is a professor in the Department of Art History and in the
Museology program at the Université du Québec à Montréal. A renowned
exhibition curator, she has organized nearly thirty exhibitions and
presented works by BGL in Canada and Europe. Under her artistic
direction from 2010 to 2013, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
won several awards for its influential exhibitions and quality
publications. For the Québec Triennial 2011, the Musée d'art contemporain was nominated for the 27th Grand Prix du Conseil des arts de Montréal, and it won the awards for
best publication from the Société des musées québécois and for Best
Exhibition from the Contemporary Art Galleries Association (AGAC).
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections
of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains
Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st
century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous
Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and
photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played
a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its
principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for
all Canadians. To do so, it maintains an extensive touring art
exhibition programme. For more information: gallery.ca.
SOURCE: National Gallery of Canada
For further information:
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Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada