ARTLAB RESIDENCY 2022
May 2021 – October 2022
Under its 2021–22 residency program, the ArtLab welcomes Geneviève Chevalier, whose inquiry will continue throughout the year and culminate in an exhibition at the Foreman Art Gallery in September 2022. Chevalier will use a combined approach involving the Université Laval collection of avian skins and Sherbrooke-area farms to probe the status of certain Québec bird species like the swallow. Trissements, her work-in-progress, mainly takes the form of a video projection consisting of random photo/video combinations that are generated based on selected scientific and aesthetic criteria. These fleeting juxtapositions, some of which will only exist for the moment of their display, explore the hermetic world of natural history collecting by moving it virtually into the habitat of the targeted species. An accompanying virtual reality component immerses viewers in the outdoor sites, letting them see the birds, many of whom feed on insects while in flight, in their natural environment.
This research is part of a broader initiative entitled Mirement/Towering, a sailing term referring to the refraction effect that causes distant objects to appear more vertically elongated than they actually are. Dazibao, the Foreman Art Gallery and Galerie UQO have come together to offer Chevalier a unique opportunity to present this ambitious project in three standalone segments. The artist uses video, photographic and VR installations to explore the field of natural history, her primary interest, along with its multiple social and political ramifications. The project will open at Dazibao in September 2021 and will move onto the Foreman as part of the gallery’s 2021–22 ArtLab residency before ending in May 2023 at Galerie UQO. A publication covering the entire project is also planned.
Mirement/Towering questions the notions of the living world inherited from the modern era: a world decontextualized, simplified and there to be exploited. Artist Geneviève Chevalier documents certain forms of the modernist conception and knowledge of the natural world such as the garden, the menagerie and the natural history museum collection, then reframes them to suggest other possible interpretations — for example, envisioning the herbarium and avian collection as active databases, recontextualized through empirical research coloured by the phenomenon of biodiversity loss.
Geneviève Chevalier is an artist in media and visual arts, an independent curator, and a professor at the School of Art of Laval University in Québec City. She holds a PhD in Art Theory and Practice from the Université du Québec à Montréal and an MFA from Concordia University. She was an artist in residence at the Québec’s studio in London, in 2020; at Sporobole, contemporary art centre in Sherbrooke, in 2018; the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, Scotland, in 2017; the Banff Centre, Alberta and the Vermont Studio Centre. Her work was presented in 2018 at the Musée régional de Rimouski and Optica, contemporary art centre, Montréal; at the Symposium international d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul in 2016; at the Musée de Lachine, Montréal, in 2015; at La Chambre Blanche, Québec City, as part of the Manif d’art 7 and at the Thames Art Gallery, Chatham, Ontario, in 2014.