Wednesday, April 16, 2008

BGL and No.9

Mercer faves BGL are presenting new work for Project 9, an environmental curatorial agency ran by Andrew Davies and Catherine Dean, which is being launced this Saturday. Here's the press release:

BGL: Project for the Don River
April 22 - June 29
The Lower Don River, between Queen and Lakeshore.

The lower Don River will be the location and inspiration for No.9's inaugural installation, a new work by Jasmin Bilodeau, Sebastien Giguere and Nicolas Laverdiere, otherwise known by the acronym BGL. The trio has become known for work that looks slyly but with affection at the commercialism and consumerism that so often define our culture. As a counterpoint, the natural world plays a big role, and the collision between the two is often their subject.

Their collaboration with No.9 marks the creation of their most significant public work outside of Quebec, and expands on their themes of nature and consumption by taking as its starting point the site of the Lower Don River.

BGL's installation consists of a shrunken cruise ship - christened the Nowhere II - 30 feet long, completely blackened and anchored on the turgid waters of the Lower Don. It is faced by a giant life buoy, totally out of proportion to the ship. With these absurd shifts in scale the function of these objects is brought into question. In case of emergency, is the buoy intended to save the entire ship, or is it meant for the river itself? If the ship is seen as full size, then what monstrous waterway is the Don? And what tourists have chosen its charms as the backdrop for buffets and shuffleboard?

The Nowhere II and its life buoy is an emblem par excellence of luxury, idleness and materialism, representing a leisure activity gone slightly wrong. They points to the possibility of being in a place without really seeing it, like tourists taking pictures from the deck but never going ashore. The life buoy introduces an element of anxiety, but also BGL's trademark humour. With their belief in the capacity of art to elucidate the consciousness of an era, BGL are reflecting back to us the conditions of our time, while subtly bringing attention to the ecological issues of the site.

BGL (Jasmin Bilodeau (1973), Sebastien Giguere (1972) and Nicolas Laverdiere (1972)) have been making exhibitions in galleries, museums and public spaces throughout Quebec, Canada and abroad for over ten years, including the The 1er Bienal del fin del mundo, Ushuaia, Argentina; the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal; Musée d'art moderne Lille Métropole, France; Mercer Union, Toronto; The Havana Biennale, Cuba; and The Montreal Biennale. In 2006 they were short-listed for the Sobey Prize, and in 2007 were winners of the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award from the Canada Council for outstanding work in the visual arts.

BGL are represented by Diaz Contemporary, Toronto and Parisian Laundry, Montreal.

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