"Diane Landry at Bus Projects"
Opening: Tuesday 12 December, 6-8 pm
Dates: 12-23 December 2006
"Landry’s exhibition at Bus included three works that further attest her passion for robotics but also explore the nature of perception. Ecôle d’aviation (Flying School) comprises 20 umbrellas that open and close, the lights beneath them casting shadows like slow-moving clouds on the white gallery ceiling. Accompanied by a gentle sighing from the little electrically driven air pumps that activate each umbrella, this slow, mechanical unfolding of silhouetted forms projected into the room becomes a metaphor for our programmed, repetitive lives.
Je ne trouve pas ma montre, elle ne s’est pourtant pas envoiée (I can’t find my watch yet it hasn’t flown away) comprises 6 electrically-driven salad spinners mounted chest-high on a wall, each activated by a movement sensor and revealing, through a tiny aperture, glimpses of fragments of photos of someone going about her daily routines. In her notes Landry refers to the early 19th century parlour device, the Zoetrope, which preceded the birth of cinema and which demonstrated persistence of vision, or how the eye is tricked into seeing movement in a rapidly changing sequence of still images. The viewer gleans a ‘story’ from the imagery in the salad spinners that, ironically, is only triggered by the movement sensors. Landry’s use of vernacular found objects such as toys, salad spinners, surveillance devices and umbrellas, reconnects us to the everyday world and also shifts the work away from high art and cinematic traditions.
But perhaps Diane Landry’s most engaging work is Le bouclier perdu (The lost shield), a video of a woman (the artist) apparently tossing and turning in disturbed sleep on a couch. The video is constructed from a series of still photographs shown in a sequence of superimpositions and dissolves that disrupt the normal cinematic illusion of seamless movement. This artificial portrayal of broken, dreamy sleep becomes a metaphor for the inauthenticity of photography and cinema.
By recalling the work of moving picture pioneers such as Muybridge and the Lumière brothers, Landry’s work reveals how the moving image has been used to structure our perceptual awareness and understanding. Her work questions the impact of the persistence of vision to address the nature of visual comprehension and its relationship with emotional memory, highlighting our tendency to imbue the imagery that flashes before our eyes with narrative meaning and intent. By showing us how easily illusions can be created, we are prompted to see through our visual world and to acknowledge that the ‘truth’ we deduce from what we see may be a trompe l’oeil, a projection of our emotional state or a figment of our imagination."
Since 1987, Diane Landry has performed and exhibited in Canada, as well as the United States, Mexico, Argentina, France, Belgium, Austria, Germany and Sweden. Over the years, she has worked as artist in residence at many institutions including the Centro Cultural La Recoleta in Buenos Aires, C.Y.P.R.E.S.S., Friche de la Belle Mai in Marseille, France, one recently at Oboro New Media Lab, Montreal and another at Avatar, centre for the creation and distribution of sound and electronic work, Quebec city. Her work has been collected by the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec and by Quebec City. Landry is the winner of the Prix du Rayonnement International, the “international influence award” (2003) and was the recipient of the Murphy Cadogan Award, San Francisco Foundation (2005). She holds a BFA from Laval University, Quebec, and has recently completed a Master’s in fine art at Stanford University in California.
As a multidisciplinary artist, Diane Landry seeks to reverse the reading of manufactured images. Thus, she choose objects with universal meaning and attempt to reveal their secret face. She modifies the original material as little as possible and just transform the standard meaning. When we see the result, nothing is really hidden; we are instead thrown into confusion by the new direction these things take. She challenges the emotional memory's link to these objects.
Diane Landry defines her work as “oeuvres mouvelles”. By mouvelle, she means a material work that must be watched for some time before its full meaning is grasped, just as a work of music requires listening from start to finish because a single slice of time is insufficient. A mouvelle work exists in a continually renewed flow of time, i.e., a space-time continuum imposed by the work's very nature. She wants to recreate in her installations the element of time that is such a vital aspect of her performances.