LES COURANTS : Diagenèse – Isabelle Gagné


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

Exhibition dates: November 6th to January 16th, 2022
Sunday and Monday, 12-5 pm
Tuesday and Wednesday, 10-8 pm
Thursday and Friday, 10-6 pm
Saturday, 10-5 pm
At the Maison Pierre-Chartrand
8000 Boulevard Gouin E, Rivière-des-Prairies, Montréal

Through her reflections on archives and the transformation of the landscape, Isabelle Gagné is interested in the residual remains. A hybrid exhibition which includes augmented reality, photographs from personal archives and images found on the web, as well as collected objects, the various elements come together to provoke reflection on our impact on the environment.

« Diagenèse, a project by Mirabel-based digital artist Isabelle Gagné, is composed of two complementary bodies of work, photographic images and sculptures, which are based on the concepts of archive and artefact. These two elements, associated as much with images as with objects, form the physical and conceptual basis of the project. The notion of memory and its alteration through the sieve of time are also evoked: what remains of our presence and our passages upon the various spaces we move through?

These spaces are, in fact, heterogeneous. While the photographic collection focuses on the question of the digital imprint and the traces we leave on the Web, the sculptural collection questions our material marks and vestiges. These two approaches are linked by a subsurface element: sediment. In geology, the term diagenesis refers to the processes of transformation of minerals into sedimentary rocks. These transformations, whether through compaction, dehydration, dissolution, cementation, epigenization or metasomatosis, feature a nomenclature that allows the artist to extend the geological analogy, which for several years has been the focus of Gagné’s research on memory and its impermanence.

The visual works come from composite images created by a bot developed by Gagné called “Portrait-robot.” Using the artist’s personal photo archives, the bot is asked to generate new images by integrating layers of similar images from the Web. Glitches and other digital accidents are part of these new “photographs,” evoking the imperfections of memory. Isn’t it said that memories are constantly being reassembled, endlessly recreated along the mental thread of recollection and the things it distils in its wake?

The sculptural works’ reference geological cores—soil samples that provide information on the specific characteristics of an environment and the conditions of a given area. In this case, the cores were created from personal objects compacted and bound with various materials: cement, resin, polish, wood and bitumen. Similar to the algorithmic portraits, the result offers a degree of randomness due to the proximity of the materials, the degree of humidity, the density and possible chemical reactions. Like memories, the lifting of these sedimentary strata reveals fragments of objects, elusive references. » — Nathalie Bachand

This program is carried out in collaboration with the Maison de la Culture and the Rivière-des-Prairies library and the Maison Cœur à Rivière, 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.