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Gwenaël Bélanger‘s works, focusing on the mediums of photography, video and installation, are based on a critical observation of our daily reality and of the inherent simplicity in things. For Belanger, the banal and the common hide some sort of innate nucleus of significance which is simply awaiting to be uncovered - and thus offers us, with a touch of irony, a re-evaluation of what is presented to us at first glance.

A close, critical observation of what forms a vivid picture in our everyday world is the starting point for Gwenaël Bélanger’s projects. His approach is characterized above all by a “bricoleur” attitude which consists of using graphic and photographic processes. Like an anthropologist of images, he is interested as much in the media image as in the cultural object, both of which carry and convey connotations, denotations and references. What we think or say about the image and the object, and their polysemic content, is more important than their materiality itself. These are the materials he works with, in order to create shifts in perception and in which he sets up what he calls “machinations of the gaze”. Early beginnings of a creative space, a kind of building site, where constructions, manipulations and transformations take place, as he misleadingly plays with the codes of media language. Finally, Bélanger attempts to question the status of the image—how it is produced, transmitted and received—and puts to the test what we see and perceive.
The video « L’Hameçon » presents continual and successive views of three different domestic environments which are ultimately exposed as being temporarily constructed sites. Revealing details of these premises and the actions which take place within, the rhythmic succession of the scenes go on to dismantle the logic with which we perceive the space. Throughout a series of slow travellings, we discover the elements composing an image as well as what is « out of frame », which thus sees our mode of evaluation rapidly overturned by an increasingly tightened and unpredictable montage. The montage then intertwines these places and actions and short-circuits the video’s narrative line. The sequences blend with one another and contaminate each other to become a sort of weave of narratives in which our visual and auditory references see themselves trapped, litteraly evading the foundations of perception.
The video « Le Tournis » shows an interior space (the artist’s studio) from a central viewing point. The camera continually revolves on itself, scanning the place at high speed. In this repetitive 360° panorama, an event arises. Progressively, at the top of the screen, a slight sparkling appears. Then something falls. We then identify, gradually, that a multitude of mirrors come crashing to the ground. Rhythm and sound are important elements in experiencing this work – and specifically through the minute-long accumulated sound from the shattering of each mirror after a prolonged period of calm.
The photograph « Le faux mouvement » (measuring 1 meter by 8.20 meters long) results from the video « Le Tournis » and represents a panoramic view of the same space, filled with heterogenous objects, and in which a large number of mirrors simultaneously crash to the floor.

“The common thread in Belanger’s “Chutes” series consists of taking a photograph of divers objects and various materials in a state of fall. The image which interests me is the one where the object is a few millimetres from the floor, just before the impact. This mysterious moment - an instant frozen in time - is inhabited by the imminence of the impact, and is, according to me, visually rich. The object presents itself in front of our eyes as a sharp form in a kind of levitated state, but the inescapable conclusion of the movement is inscribed in the image itself. The impact is inevitable: the object will fatally fall under the constraint of gravity. Depending on its nature, the object will bounce, bend, be flattened, break up, shatter. But the observer is not allowed to assist to this spectacle.
Frustrated in its desire for the spectacular, he will attempt to construct this image in order to alleviate his deception (conscious or unconscious), and will try to imagine what happened after the impact. This project, which is in direct correlation with my previous projects, allows the spectator to look differently at an object placed in a “dangerous” situation.”