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Raymond Boisjoly

16 September — 29 October, 2016

Mat­ter out of place and out of time. Ray­mond Boisjoly’s most recent body of work, Dis­crepants, cir­cu­lates around tex­tu­al fig­ures of tem­po­ral and spa­tial dis­place­ments. It is pre­sent­ed togeth­er with the cor­re­lat­ing series “From age to age, as its shape slow­ly unrav­eled…” and a relat­ed exte­ri­or art­work on the side of the gallery itself. This con­stel­la­tion of works con­sid­ers Stat­ues Also Die, a 1953 anti-colo­nial film by Chris Mark­er, Alain Resnais, and Ghis­lain Clo­quet, which poet­i­cal­ly artic­u­lates what occurs when we come to look at African stat­u­ary as sim­ply aes­thet­ic objects. Art is pre­sent­ed as a cat­e­go­ry con­ve­nient to west­ern think­ing through which immense things can be reduced to man­age­able dimen­sions.

Boisjoly’s inter­est in the film Stat­ues Also Die is in the way it medi­ates objects and focus­es on how works by non-west­ern peo­ples come to be under­stood as art. The work in the exhi­bi­tion sug­gests the impor­tance of look­ing at how this his­tor­i­cal tra­jec­to­ry can be con­sid­ered more broad­ly. From this gen­er­al sit­u­a­tion, and from his own spe­cif­ic posi­tion as an indige­nous per­son, the artist con­sid­ers that these same process­es and trans­for­ma­tions occur to the mate­r­i­al of his own peo­ple. For his­tor­i­cal exam­ple, totem poles of the North­west Coast were cut down like trees and shipped to insti­tu­tions all over the world, into a muse­o­log­i­cal state they were nev­er meant to be seen in.

Mate­ri­al­ly, all of the works in the exhi­bi­tion use com­mer­cial con­sumer print­ing ser­vices rather than art print­ing. From inkjet ink on adhe­sive backed vinyl, to UV ink on flat vinyl with grom­mets, to exte­ri­or vinyl on alu­minum frame. In order to fore­ground the exis­tence of images cul­tur­al­ly out­side the bound­ed, if expand­ing realm of art, these print­ing meth­ods con­cern the con­tin­gent char­ac­ter of art and its atten­dant prac­tices.

For the project of “From age to age, as its shape slow­ly unrav­eled…”, Boisjoly began with a tech­nique he has used pre­vi­ous­ly, play­ing a video of the film on an iPhone, plac­ing it on a scan­ner, which attempts to cap­ture the image as it is mov­ing, which of course is futile. This strat­e­gy cre­ates strange, dis­tort­ed, par­tial images that are out­putted to large, adhe­sive inkjet on vinyl murals that are applied direct­ly to the gallery walls. These cre­ate an alter­nate rela­tion­ship to the exhi­bi­tion space, in that they can­not be tak­en off the wall and moved around. To take them off the wall is to ulti­mate­ly change them per­ma­nent­ly. Instead of sim­ply re-pre­sent­ing his­tor­i­cal images, this work draws atten­tion to the method and time of its own altered trans­mis­sion, impli­cat­ing us in the cre­ation of mean­ing in the present.

In this, there is an anx­i­ety of the visu­al, the “thing” is nev­er pre­sent­ed to you ful­ly. While there are things that can be named in terms of rec­og­niz­able imagery, there is obvi­ous­ly miss­ing infor­ma­tion. The text in the Dis­crepants series func­tions as a kind of with­hold­ing, man­i­fest­ing a dif­fer­ing anx­i­ety about imagery. It uses ambigu­ous state­ments that are in effect reflec­tions on the gen­er­al premise of the print­ed images. They are an attempt to dis­cuss, as opposed to leav­ing them as images or sim­ply as pic­tures. They reflect the dis­cur­sive aspect of the image, where the images can­not speak in that way, offer­ing a dif­fer­ent entry point to a shared con­cern. Sur­round­ing the text, Boisjoly has incor­po­rat­ed images of clouds and tele­vi­sion noise. As a com­plex aggre­gate, a clouds exis­tence and form is deter­mined as mul­ti­ple parts coa­lesce, water droplets com­bin­ing to form vapor, sim­i­lar in struc­ture to com­plex social and cul­tur­al phe­nom­e­na. The artist asks us to con­sid­er the film as a mod­el for dis­crep­an­cy, how we can imag­ine the pos­si­bil­i­ties of dif­fer­ence, and the future of the dis­crepant.

Ray­mond Boisjoly (b. 1981, Lan­g­ley, BC) lives and works in Van­cou­ver, Cana­da. Recent solo exhi­bi­tions include ‘Over a Dis­tance Between One and Many’, Kof­fler Cen­tre, Toron­to (2016); “From age to age, as its shape slow­ly unrav­eled…”, VOX, Mon­tre­al (2015); ‘Inter­locu­tions’, Car­leton Uni­ver­si­ty Art Gallery, Ottawa (2014); ‘Sta­tion to Sta­tion’, Plat­form Cen­tre for Pho­to­graph­ic + Dig­i­tal Arts, Win­nipeg (2014); ‘Silent Trans-Form­ing’, Urban Shaman Con­tem­po­rary Abo­rig­i­nal Art, Win­nipeg (2014); Catri­ona Jef­fries, Van­cou­ver (2013); ‘As It Comes’, Con­tem­po­rary Art Gallery, Van­cou­ver (2013); ‘(And) Oth­er Echoes’, Simon Fras­er Uni­ver­si­ty Gallery, Van­cou­ver (2013); ‘The Work That Work Leaves Undone’, For­est City Gallery, Lon­don, ON (2012). His work has been includ­ed in numer­ous group exhi­bi­tions, includ­ing We are the peo­ple, Mary Eliz­a­beth Dee Shaw Gallery, Odgen, Utah (2016); ‘Mouchara­bieh’, Tri­an­gle, Mar­seille (2015); ‘Beat Nation’, Musée d’art con­tem­po­rain de Mon­tréal; Dal­housie Art Gallery and St. Mary’s Uni­ver­si­ty Art Gallery, Hal­i­fax, Nova Sco­tia; Macken­zie Art Gallery, Regi­na, Saskatchewan (2014); ‘Unset­tled Land­scapes’, SITE­lines: New Per­spec­tives on Art of the Amer­i­c­as, San­ta Fe (2014); ‘L’avenir (look­ing for­ward)’, Mon­tre­al Bien­ni­al (2014); ‘The Mil­i­tant Image: Pic­tur­ing What Is Already Going On, Or The Poet­ics of the Mil­i­tant Image’, Cam­era Aus­tria, Vien­na (2014); ‘Acqui­si­tions and Archives’, Mor­ris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Van­cou­ver (2013); ‘Pleinairism’, Wal­ter Philips Gallery, Banff Cen­tre (2013); ‘Fic­tion / Non Fic­tion’, Esker Foun­da­tion, Cal­gary (2013); ‘Tools for Con­vivi­al­i­ty’, The Pow­er Plant Con­tem­po­rary Art Gallery, Toron­to (2012); ‘Beat Nation’, Van­cou­ver Art Gallery; Pow­er Plant, Toron­to; Kam­loops Art Gallery, Kam­loops, British Colum­bia (2012); ‘Devour­ing Time’, West­ern Bridge, Seat­tle (2012); ‘Phan­tas­mago­ria’, Pre­sen­ta­tion House Gallery, North Van­cou­ver (2012).