Manon Labrecque: create intensely
A program curated by artist Manon Labrecque bringing together for the first time works made between 2005 and 2018, and showing (among other manifestations) actions from the entirety of her practice and her artistic sensibility.
Text by Priscilla Guy. Originally from Sherbrooke (Canada), Priscilla Guy is a multidisciplinary artist who has been based in Montreal since 2005. She holds a BFA in visual arts (Concordia University) and an MA in contemporary dance (York University). She is primarily interested in everyday gestures, and transforming the objects and architectures that surround her through pedestrian movement in order to reveal the poetic and politic discourse they embody.
List of works in program
A text by Priscilla Guy
Manon Labrecque’s work is a meeting of the banal and the grandiose; the human body and the machine; the useless and the essential. A truly multifaceted artist, Labrecque escapes categories and labels. Adept at working with her hands, her relationship to technology manifests in a low-tech, handmade aesthetic that engages the entire body. In her work, life and death continually and elegantly collide, evoking in turns the value of human life and the planned obsolescence of the technologies that fill our lives. From an aesthetic of the ordinary, she allows the layers of feeling that lie beneath uneventful everyday life to emerge, often with the use of different techniques to disrupt the image. This mischievous artist is interested in an alternative beauty, the beauty in technical failures, botches and bugs. Her edited/pirated work highlights the fragility of the video medium. In this respect, the artist assumes the role of an image sorcerer: her skilful hijacking techniques allow us to see body-matter and machine-bodies that bear the marks of a fallible technology, while exposing an undeniable yet strange, even reinvented humanity.
In En-deçà du réel, Labrecque begins a deeply moving and complex story with a simple laugh. What can be found in a split-second of laughter? Superimposed layers expose cathartic states, while the laughter is paused to reveal small fits and spurts, hiccups and unexpected tones. From distress to boredom, Labrecque’s laugh appears in a new light thanks to her ingenious editing. Anchored in a visceral relationship to the living, the work invites the viewer on a journey in which the codes of laughter are sabotaged or exaggerated, and in which a surreal temporality strongly impacts the artist’s body. Labrecque’s ability to make us jump from a dreamlike space to a humorous one characterizes a number of her works. The image seems to possess a life of its own, with laboured breathing characterized by pauses and dizzying leaps, which can bring us from laughter to tears. The living emerges from dead matter and vice versa, through simple technical manipulations applied with an obsessive precision.
Because this is one of the characteristics of Labrecque’s work: an obsessive fascination for the living, renewed through the showcasing of its most banal manifestations. The body fades without disappearing, while the image self-destructs without evading our gaze. A feminist and anti-conformist posture underlies this unrivalled artistic practice like a watermark. Digging for gold in an ordinary life without a story, Manon Labrecque invites us to look at ourselves with derision, goodwill, curiosity and sensitivity.
This program was shown at Dazibao on November 29, 2018 as part of the dv_vd series.
Translation: Sarah Knight
Image: Manon Labrecque, entrevue (avec une célébrité), 2018