BGL Represents Canada at the 56th International Art Exhibition
OTTAWA, Jan. 30, 2014 /CNW/ - The artists' collective BGL, composed of Jasmin Bilodeau, Sbastien Gigure and Nicolas Laverdire, will represent Canada at the prestigious 56 th 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 Qubcois 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 Universit du Qubec Montral, and Chief Curator at the Muse d'art contemporain de Montral 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; Jose 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.