ARCHIVES: Jan 5-11.2006 Vol. 21 No. 28  


Intentional idiot

Clément de Gaulejac turns deadpan tact into witty, playful art



If you’re looking for an artist making local noise as we speak, look no further than Clément de Gaulejac, who’s part of the Pardon Me exhibition currently at the Saidye. The show highlights artists’ various ways of intruding in people’s lives. He describes his entry, Lavaggio vetrina, as such: “I would just go up to a gallery and start washing the windows. When approached, I didn’t tell the owner that I wanted to wash their windows or that I wanted to be an artist, what I’d say was, ‘I need your help to do my work.’”

As you can see, de Gaulejac’s approach is direct, witty and humorous, yet he describes his tact as simplistic. “I will approach an event like the [space shuttle] Challenger exploding or a spoken expression like an idiot,” he says. “I shake up the meaning and see what comes out artistically.”

Besides the Saidye show, Montrealers can check out more of de Gaulejac’s work in 2006 when his solo exhibition opens Jan. 12 at Galerie B-312. Called Le bruit du planeur, this exhibition consists of sculptures, drawings and two live performances of Le Challenger. One performance will happen during the opening, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m., the other on the 28th at 4 p.m.—the latter falling exactly on the 20th anniversary of the Challenger explosion. The diverse collection of sculptures on view will include such oddities as a stone tablet painstakingly etched with the multilingual warning label found in a Kinder Surprise or a bunch of big arrows on wheels lying around the gallery floor called “The direction is not responsible.” There will be another solo show of different sculptural pieces in May called Faire écran at the Maison de la culture Ahuntsic-Cartierville—this time filled with more playful sculptural works that reflect French expressions. “I’ll take a French saying like ‘wooden tongue’ and then I’ll literally make a wooden tongue. This is something I do all the time in my work. I transpose reality. A computer cursor becomes architecture, history becomes art, language becomes matter and matter becomes language.”

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