Pascale LeBlanc Lavigne
For a few years, Pascale LeBlanc Lavigne has been developing a unique approach to kinetic and sound art, producing installations in which the simple operational modes and refined, even minimal qualities provoke immediate fascination. Far from the mechanical and aesthetic perfection that characterize industrial objects, LeBlanc Lavigne’s ‘machines’ in motion are presented as handcrafted, imprecise and casual constructions, to use the artist’s terms, which do not prevent them from effectively fulfilling their conceived purposes. In the installation Indeterminate, in which the very title highlights the unpredictable nature of the work’s circumstances, two moving mechanical systems interact in a multitude of possibilities.
Sound plays an important role in this system in which microphones and speakers pick up and broadcast the sounds their movements generate in the space. Noise comes from multiple sources: devices suspended from the ceiling spin at a regular rate, while on the ground, mechanical objects on wheels move erratically. Depending on whether these objects are equipped with a microphone or a loudspeaker, the result of their trajectory, the noises of the motors, the wheels on the floor and the rustling of the wires in the air, all are amplified and become contaminated by reverberations that push the material to its technological limits. Indeed, the material breakdown, sometimes going so far as to destroy itself, is at the core of the artist’s approach. By creating brut objects, considered from the outset as precarious or fragile, the work thwarts the apparent invulnerability that technology can confer upon objects that seem destined to function indefinitely on their own. Here, subtle signs, like traces of wear on the floor, also help to produce tension between creation and destruction (are they a form of drawing, or flaws?), a duality, unfolding over time, is sometimes present in the works.
In her master’s thesis recently submitted to Laval University, Pascale LeBlanc Lavigne uses the expression “potential for violence” to define the unpredictability of the systems that she develops, noting that their chaotic and non-directed movements induce a form of anticipation or increased attention on the part of the viewer. In fact, the inability to predict the movements of her machine-objects tends to make the public alert, to be wary. This new direction contrasts with some of the artist’s previous works, from which a kind of humour or gentleness emanated instead. For example, one could see in her installation in the Manif d’art’s vitrine, in Quebec City, a humorous piece that mechanically reproduced the act of cleaning a window, using atomizers and rags; and gentleness when she placed objects on a Chilean beach that leave fine streaks on the sand. If the artist says that she would like her works “to generate forms having poetic echoes,” it is worth considering the multitude of tones that this poetry can adopt. The unexpected, the surprise, the terror, even a form of danger are evoked here, in a continually renewed experience.
Text by Esther Bourdages
Translation by Jennifer Macklem
Pascale LeBlanc Lavigne produces imprecise kinetic and sound works which test their own structure. In 2015, she received a bachelor’s degree in visual and media arts from Laval University, and is presently finishing a master’s degree in this field at the same institution. During her studies, her work has been supported, in particular, by the artist-run centres Avatar, La Bande Vidéo and La Chambre Blanche. Her work has been presented in several solo and group exhibitions in Quebec, as well as internationally. In recognition of her work, she has received several awards, prizes, grants and distinctions.
Marie-Pier Bocquet is a Master’s candidate in Art History at UQAM and is currently the programming coordinator at Arprim, a centre for print art. Bouquet is an author, curator and cultural worker, and was a finalist in the esse arts + opinions’ Young Critics competition held in 2016. Since 2014, she has served on the editorial board of the drawing journal HB. She was co-curator of HB # 6 / HORS PAGE, presented at Centre d’art et de diffusion Clark in 2017, and curator of emerging printmakers for the exhibitionFaire Monde: A Look at Microcosmsthat Catherine Magnan and Andréanne Gagnon organized at Caravansérai artist’s center in 2014. Her published writing has appeared in esse arts + opinionsmagazine, as well as in the brochures of galerie Art Mûr, Centre d’art et de diffusion Clark and CIRCA art actuel.