March 24 – May 12, 2007
ABOUT THE SHOW
Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain is pleased to present a series of new folded-paper works by Montréal artist Jérôme Fortin. This solo exhibition serves as a wink - or as a counterpoint to Fortin's show Écrans that runs at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (MACM, www.macm.org) until April 22, 2007.
Whereas Écrans (Screens) presents an expanse of nine, large-format and ephemeral murals, Courts métrages (Short Films) comprises 13 framed works of medium-size format (40" x 60"). More recycled paper? Yes, but to what effect!
The immense Écrans at the MACM will inevitably disappear once they have been taken down. There is no treasure vault waiting to preserve their majesty. Once removed, they are gone forever.
With this new series, aptly entitled Courts métrages, the artist-tinkerer-magician of folds, double-folds and playful references surprises us again. Rather than just repeating his past work, he remixes, kneads together and complexifies his image-based sources. This new synthesis combines receipt books, Spanish magazines and listings from the Pink Pages with posters, note pads, colouring books, mangas, road maps and Loto-Québec lottery tickets. The special effects of these frictional films becomes even more apparent.
With visual appeal being his only objective, Fortin merges old sources with new ones to create highly graphic traces and interlaces composed of infinitely repetitive fine lines. The superposition of thin, horizontal strips emerge from reoccurring gestures - and appear as a metaphor for cinematographic film. Instead of following the step-by-step work of the film editor, however, Fortin prefers to lay out his horizontal superpositions side by side, thus deriving pleasure from winding the film.
His work rests within a continuum of modernist structures with conceptual links to both Optical Art and Zen. In this instance though, the transposition, reformulation and translation of a vocabulary is deliberately over-disrupted and cognitively disturbing.
Fortin's interweaving evokes knitting, patchwork, quilting or the ceinture-flèchée ("arrowed-belt"), and reminds us of traditional, artisan work. His artistic practice (being dexterous, attentive and repetitive) is the removal of all traces of informative detail in order to hoodwink us.
It is impossible to tune into either Écrans or Courts métrages. "Too much information is no information." Fortin enjoys and ab/uses the transfer of spools (thread and film) to his own advantage - from one screening to another, "image stops" and "time stops" (from Sandra Grant Marchand; trans.).
Following the (inevitable) release of Écrans from the museum, Courts métrages will seem like a remake. However, it promises to provide a more lucid aesthetic commentary on this universe of hyper-communication in which we no longer know which saint to venerate.
WORKS FROM THE EXHIBITION