The “X,” a universal sign, symbolically evokes a cartographical landmark, the beacon for a geographical position, as well as a plurality of codified abstractions. In Jeffrey Poirier’s exhibition X, the meanings of this polysemic symbol are deviated and reoriented into a proliferation of pictorial or sculptural ornamentations and, moreover, into a conceptual reflection on ecology. In addition, the artist diverts the “X” into combinations of material and formal experiments, having surfaces of infinite possibilities or increased subtlety of structure. This recent corpus foresees the aesthetic and practical transformation of mundane objects, unknown to the ecological vocation, and related to a conscious (sur)consumption. The modulation of these utilitarian objects takes place mainly through an eminent variation of scale. The excessiveness of these representations radically alters our perception, interaction and reception of them, while fully revealing their formal potential. Through the turnaround, Poirier restores the constructed character of instruments in illusionist works, producing schematic or, conversely, detailed versions.
A series of three colossal photographs, a medley of fiery colours is arranged in the whiteness of space. Through the triptych, the artist surveys the possibilities of dematerializing aerated motifs, stemming from a piece of plastic used to collect rainwater. The result is opulent symmetrical flourishes overloaded with small decorative details, like an enamelled, glazed mosaic. A cohesive combination of geometric shapes and infinite repetitions, the photomontage evolves into a device to reduce visual referents, favouring the power of suggestion to the act of contemplation. Freeing photography and its conventional limits, the manipulated images, disrupted by the emptiness of the patterns and the density of the colours, accentuate the optical perception effects. In addition, the virtual absence of a frame opens possibilities for the agglomeration of ornaments.
In the centre of the space, a three-dimensional work, disproportionate to say the least, reproduces a reusable packaging for the eco-responsible marketing of eggs. Through a play of mutation, a machined-finish structure appears, similar to minimalism and its archetypes, in opposition to the pictorial lyricism of the three two-dimensional works on the walls. The binary form of the “X” is repeated in a span of bilateral subtractions or voids that generates a structure dedicated to the minimalist aesthetics of the multiple. Consequently, the geometrical openings, strictly ornamental and architectural, relieve the device of any use.
Jeffrey Poirier’s transfigurations give the works a non-functional character and establish a distancing to ecological and scientific considerations. Revealed another way, these works merge notions of sustainability and ephemerality, intrinsically linked to (over)production and the (over)use of our material culture, evidence of artificial conveniences––necessities. Questioning the insane logic of excessively making bio-objects in order to counter today’s ever-increasing materialism, Poirier engages in an analytical process and delivers a different reflection on our consumer society, using the symbolic “X,” which disappears into forms and functions through conceptual associations.
– Texte by Jean-Michel Quirion
Biography of the artist:
Jeffrey Poirier was born in France in 1986, and now lives and works in Quebec City. His practice concerns mainly site-specific installation. He holds a master’s degree in visual arts from Laval University, and has presented his work in solo exhibitions at Galerie RDV (Nantes, France), Le Centre culturel Franco-Manitobain (Winnipeg), Diagonale (Montreal), L’Oeil de poisson (Quebec City) and Youkobo Art Space (Tokyo, Japan). He has received grants from le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Canada Council for the Arts. In Quebec City, he is involved in the cultural milieu and has been director of l’Œil de Poisson, an artist-run centre, for almost six years.
Jean-Michel Quirion is an MA candidate in museology at
Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO). His research focuses on the development of a typology of museum-based
dissemination methods for performance art. He currently works at AXENÉO7 artist-run centre, in Gatineau. Quirion is also a member of Montréal-based research collective CIÉCO: Collections et impératif événementiel / The Convulsive collections. As an independent curator, his most recent project, Tout contexte est art, was presented at the Galerie UQO in 2018. He regularly publishes in art magazines such as ESPACE art actuel, Inter art actuel, and Ciel variable.