Frozen in time
Produced as part of the Politique d’intégration des arts à l’architecture, Collections, Suspended Time is an installation by multidisciplinary artist Claudie Gagnon. Fixed above the staircase that leads to the museum’s roof, the piece is composed by a hundred or so glass and crystal objects. Hung from a polished stainless steel plaque, the installation is enhanced by a striking mirror effect. At dusk, Collections, Suspended Time remains visible from the street, a special lightning designed accordingly. When seen from far, the piece produces a sparkling myriad that glimmers according to the natural light. Admired from close, one can take in all its finer details.
A mise en abyme of the museum’s primary function, Collections, Suspended Time assembles hundreds of second-hand objects that remind us of ancient artifacts found in curiosity cabinets from another time, gathered from different fields including science and the arts. As if they were frozen in time, these objects form an imaginative and playful entity that taps into the imagination.
Claudie Gagnon’s universe is filled with ludism and wonder. Working midway between performance art and art installation, the artist is just as known for her living paintings as for her sculptures. Gagnon develops her artwork from objects she finds especially in second-hand shops. She diverts the primary function of ordinary objects used by her contemporaries, preferring a universe parallel to reality. Gagnon’s process is one of festive accumulation where the gathered pieces appear sedimented in time. As dense as they are light, her installations are open to many interpretations, both by the complexity of their construction and by the originality of the locations where they are displayed.
Claudie Gagnon was born in Montreal in 1964. Self-taught, she got involved in artist-run centres at the beginning of her career, and was a founding member of L’Oeil de Poisson in Québec City in 1985, where she was very active for nearly a decade. Her implication will be a determining factor in the emergence and development of her personal artistic language. Filled with a spirit of playfulness and burlesque, Gagnon presented her first professional exhibition in 1987. Throughout the years, she has developed a practice built around installation and performance art, and has also left her mark in the world of theater. In 2009, Expression, the Centre d’exposition de Saint-Hyacinthe, and the Musée d’art de Joliette all dedicated a retrospective exhibition in her honor. Her artwork has been displayed in Europe, Asian and Canada.