LES COURANTS | Apocalypse: OPEN * until the end – Josée Brouillard


This exhibition is the third phase of Les courants, an introductory digital arts program for young people and families in Rivière-des-Prairies.

Exhibition dates: September 17th to October 31st, 2021
Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm – 5pm
At the Maison Pierre-Chartrand
8000 Boulevard Gouin E, Rivière-des-Prairies, Montréal

To book a visit, call 514-872-2462

Apocalypse: OPEN * until the end, by Montreal artist Josée Brouillard, is an exhibition project that brings together a recent collection of light-based works. One could almost call them confinement creations since they were mostly created in 2020 and 2021. The artist herself says that she was inspired by the forced hiatus from our activities tinged with the anxiety-inducing uncertainty of the pandemic.

The presence of the word “apocalypse” in the title brings to mind the idea that humanity is condemned until the end, whatever that may mean in reality. But the meaning that the artist attributes to this looming end of the world lies instead in the micro-dramas of everyday life, whereby the concept of the apocalypse is like a general store containing them all – which is, incidentally, indefinitely “open.” This window into our individual dramas is illuminated by seven works made of electroluminescent wires, LEDs, and alphanumeric displays. Usually used for commercial purposes, these luminous signs become bearers of personal stories and existential questions, like the intertwining sides of a Moebius ribbon that resemble the uncontrolled thread of our thoughts. The “Dare you trigger the end of the world?” of 5 4 3 2 1 (2020) – the seminal work of the exhibition – is a powerful statement that provides a culmination of catastrophes of various scales. Between our fluctuating anxiety levels and our aspiration for zenitude, we oscillate between a multitude of moods, like the flickering of neon lights in the dead of night.

Based on this body of work, the artist developed a series of four workshops for groups of youth from Le Phare Community Centre. First, they created fake neon displays from electroluminescent wires, currently displayed in the windows of the Maison de la Culture. They then learned to create a simple electronic circuit (without soldering) from which they could experiment with an alphanumeric display system, followed by a safe lesson in electronic soldering. Finally, an initiation workshop on microcontroller programming led to the creation of a collective work integrating a short text in alphanumeric form, also displayed at the Maison de la culture. This series of creative apprenticeships represents a means of expressing what sometimes goes beyond words or does not quite manage to meet them, to fit into the space offered by their meaning and definition. Through hands-on guidance during the outreach workshops, the artist is able to share tools for reflection that shed light on the meaning of things. In the exhibition and the workshops of the Apocalypse project, it is light that takes shape in order to embody – and quite literally express – what the darkness of our world is quietly whispering.” — Nathalie Bachand

This program is carried out in collaboration with the Maison de la Culture and the Rivière-des-Prairies library and the Community center Le Phrase, and receives financial support from the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montréal as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal.