Sylvie Bélanger | 9.7 – 10.13.2010

My work stems from a nomadic aesthetic, immersing images, sounds and the visitor in a sort of collage. It’s a collage, which constantly redefines ambling spaces, through aimless video loops combined with sounds and silences that interrupt the flow of images. It’s a collage that deploys a resistance to fix defined positions, both in space and in time. The fluidity of the visual and sound spaces sets the stage for a view of the subject, which is in a state of constantly becoming. It is vagrancy, where my motive force, is a visual and auditory movement, one that affectively rests in the viewer and never on the screen. It orients, disorients, links and ruptures sound and image in fluid variations, one that loops in the end, as discontinuously as any contemporary attempt at fixing in time or space our personal subjectivity.

For many years I constructed large-scale installations of architectural and spatial elements with technological components such as video surveillance, photography and sound. That work raised questions about memory, time, space and the body. This past work reiterated that the technological eye sees, but has no gaze, it is a vertigo of seeing which strips away both place and being. More and more our eyes desert the “flesh of the world ” in order to read graphic electronic representations instead of seeing things. Spatiality (I include the body) is reduced to a visual construct alone, a way of seeing and a way of being seen, it’s an ideational process in which the “image” of reality takes ontological precedence over the tangible substance and appearance of the real world (Virilio). I looked at how technology isolates, appropriates and affects our understanding of spaces and the body.
Presently, my use of photo/video images, interactivity and sound technologies, orients the work where the poetic and the seduction of images create a psychologically unsettling space that questions our time/space experience as well as our experience of the self/subject. The work originates in an investment of the subject as agent, meaning a multiplicity and multidimensionality of its positions in relation to art’s discourse, its investment and of its political powers to resist, to criticize and to contradict. It is a space evoked by but also remote from structures, language and articulated experience. It’s a dialectic space between presence and absence, which I like to call “ailleurs” (the elsewhere) – a space situated at the intersection between the real and its metaphor. In this context, I will say that Art is largely social for me because it resuscitates again and again, our fears or desires, our hopes and anxieties, recording through itself our struggles as people who are acting at once in relationships to each other and living in a world that has its own relationships.

Atrium Gallery – Western Michigan University


Sylvie Bélanger was born in Montréal, Canada. She is now based in Toronto. She received an MFA from York University and a BFA from Concordia University. She has exhibited her multimedia installations across Canada, in the USA; in several cities in France, Germany, Spain, England and the Netherlands. In Asia, she has exhibited in Yokohama, Tokyo, Bangkok, Manila and Shanghai. Several catalogues on her art practice have been published and, reviews of her work can be found in ArtForum, Art in America, ArtPress, Parachute and others. Bélanger’s works are in collections of Gemeente Museum, The Netherlands; Za Moca Foundation, Tokyo, Japan; Windsor Art Gallery, Canada; Musée du Québec, Canada; Galeria Oliva Arauna, Spain; Art Bank of Canada; MacDonald Stewart Art Center, Canada; Woodlawn Arts Foundation, Toronto, Canada and private collections. She was the recipient of the Stauffer Award, and has received numerous professional grants from The Nuala Dresher Fellowship, New York State, the Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the External Affairs of Canada. Sylvie Bélanger is represented by Birch Libralato Gallery, Toronto, Canada.


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