Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bertrand Carrière & Serge Clément. "Chemin Faisant" at Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal

, See It

Bertrand Carrière & Serge Clément: Seeing, Doubled
Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal
June 10 - August 1, 2009

Two veteran photographers, two unique visions of the world. That's the premise behind "Chemin Faisant," an exhibition of works by Bertrand Carrière & Serge Clément at the Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal. It’s a reunion of sorts for the two Montreal artists, who last showed together at the gallery a decade ago, and while the pairing highlights differing approaches to image making—Carrière with a new colour video work and Clément with a signature suite of black and white photos—an underlying sense of movement ties all the images together.

Bertrand Carrière, Chemin de cendres, 2009 Installation view

Carrière debuts his video Chemin de cendres, a project that developed out of an ongoing photo series “Lieux Mêmes” which retraces images of the Western Front taken by an unknown Canadian photographer during the First World War. Projected on the gallery wall, the dual-frame display poignantly juxtaposes selections from the historical album—battlefields, rubble-strewn streets, soldier’s portraits—against Carrière’s current day images of the same sites and his related travels through France and Belgium. “I’ve tried to oppose stillness and movement,” he writes about the work, and the result is a journey of visual contrasts between fixed historical narratives and the malleability of modern memory.

Bertrand Carrière, Chemin de cendres, 2009 Video Still

Clément takes a more overtly poetic approach to moving imagery with his short film d'aurore showing alongside a grid of never-before-seen images culled from his world travels over the past seven years. There’s a kind of snapshot poetry to these sequences of random photos shot at dawn—an aged stone house photographed from a moving train, an Istanbul mosque before prayers, a pedestrian blur on a Mumbai street—that frames the fleeting nature of time passing. But Clément has also woven the subtle transition of shifting light and shadow through his progression of everyday images, adding a further, elemental dynamism to his observations of change. As he explains in an email, "It's an urban and human journey at dawn, from silence to the metallic chaos of cities, from the dark to the light...A quick look at different cultures, some stories never completely told."

Serge Clément Traverse - Istanbul, Turquie 2004

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