From October 9 to 30, 2020, the exhibition Des formes poussent by artist Marjolaine Bourdua was held at Galerie atelier b in Old Montreal.
Des formes poussent (Forms are growing)
Through games of modulations, deformations and formal recognitions, the works of Marjolaine Bourdua question the tensions inherent to mass culture, with a particular attention to signs, icons and consumer objects. In this exhibition, it is more specifically the omnipresent character of the linguistic and iconographic functions of the digital register that is put forward. The transformation of modes of communication in a context of acceleration and growth of technologies is thus addressed through the visual alphabet of emojis, whose use across cultures and generations is established. Highly representative of the reign of the digital in our communications, these signs consolidate new relational forms between individuals, new ways of expressing themselves and, by extension, of thinking.
The sculptures that make up Des formes poussent represent emojis that are certainly recognizable, but that evade their initial referent through chromatic or linear displacements, sometimes falling into the artist's imagination through fusions and free traces. To this is added the volume and materiality of these digital icons, giving rise to an embodied presence at a distance from their virtual nature. This corporality is accentuated by emojis that refer to the human body, for example the hand or the tongue, but also by the varied scales and the spatialization of the sculptures, which call upon the body and the movements of the spectator. At the same time, the presence of floral emojis calls for reflection on how our dependence on the digital world contributes to our distancing from nature. For Bourdua, these references to the plant kingdom also evoke nature's ability to be resilient and to generate complex forms, echoing the act of creation and, by extension, the digital constraints that are increasingly imposed on the art world.
The complex articulation of the notions of nature and culture - which the artist reflects on in the light of Donna Haraway's thought - appears within a corpus putting forward a digital semantics, inviting plural levels of readings with a critical and political background. Indeed, the transcultural and generic potential of emoticons is all the more interesting since their selection is the result of corporate decisions made by the Unicode consortium, whose most important committee is dominated by communication technology giants (Google, Facebook, Apple, etc.). This is one more indication that in the age of late capitalism, our languages and identities are increasingly subject to the dictates of the market.
- Aseman Sabet
About Marjolaine Bourdua
Marjolaine Bourdua is an artist and cultural worker based in Montreal. Her artistic approach develops in a sculptural manner around the notions of production and circulation of objects and signs that constitute the ruins of our present. She holds a bachelor's degree in visual and media arts from UQAM as well as a graduate degree from the Villa Arson in Nice. She has presented her work in Quebec, France and Germany in the form of exhibitions, curatorial work and sound creations. She has presented her work in Quebec, France and Germany in the form of exhibitions, curatorial work and sound creations, including the Optica art center, the MAC LAU, the Maison des arts de Laval and Sporobole. She is involved in the community as a cultural mediator and member of the Centre CLARK.
All photos by Jean-Michael Seminaro.