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.
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.
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”